In today's world of competition, it's extremely important for a company to differentiate its identity from its competitors through its business name, logo, image, etc. to ensure its customers can easily identify it.
And, it's even more important to get the differentiated trademark registered to prevent its misuse.
Here's how you can get your trademark registered online, all by yourself, in 7 simple steps.
First off, what is a trademark?
A trademark can be a symbol, word, or a phrase which has been legally registered for exclusive use by a company or business. It is an intangible asset to the business as it helps build the confidence of its investors and users on its product.
Step 1: Conduct trademark search to ensure your trademark's uniqueness
The first step in the process of registration of a trademark is to conduct a trademark search to check if your business name/logo is similar or identical to an already registered trademark.
You may search the trademark database on the website of Comptroller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks.
The database contains all trademarks- registered, applied, objected as well as the expired ones.
Step 2: File an application for registration of your trademark
After you have conducted a trademark search and ensured that your trademark is unique, you may fill the trademark registration application, 'Form TM A', with the Trademark Registrar.
The application form is available on the website of the Trademark Registrar.
The online application fee is Rs. 4,500 in case of an individual, start-up or small enterprise and Rs. 9,000 in all other cases.
Step 3: Allotment of trademark application number
After e-filing your trademark registration application, you will immediately receive an acknowledgment of the application with the filing date. Further, the registry will issue you a trademark application allotment number within one or two working days.
You can start using the 'TM' symbol next to your trademark after receiving this application allotment number.
You may check your trademark application's status on the Registrar's website.
Step 4: Registrar classifies your trademark as per Vienna Codification
After receiving your trademark registration application, the Trademark Registrar classifies your trademark in accordance with the Vienna Codification which is an international classification of the figurative elements of marks.
Your application for trademark registration is in this stage if the status of your application on the Registrar's website shows "Sent for Vienna Codification".
Step 5: Trademark Officer examines your trademark for correctness
After completion of the Vienna Codification, your trademark application will get allotted to a Trademark Officer who will review your application for correctness.
If the Trademark Officer rejects your application, you may appear before him/her or the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and present your plea.
However, if your application gets the officer's approval, your trademark will be sent for publication in the Trademark Journal.
Step 6: Publication of your trademark in Indian Trademark Journal
After the Trademark Officer's approval, your trademark will be published in the Indian Trademark Journal (which is published weekly) to check for any public objections.
If no objection is filed within 3 months of publication (extendable by 1 month), the Registrar will proceed with the registration of your trademark.
If an objection is raised, a hearing will be held by a Trademark Hearing Officer.
Step 7: Issuance of Trademark Registration Certificate
If no objection is raised against your trademark within 4 months of publication in the Trademark Journal, then the Trademark Registrar will issue you a Trademark Registration Certificate.
Now, you are eligible to use the ® symbol next to your trademark
A registered trademark remains valid for a period of 10 years from the date of its application and can be renewed indefinitely.