Trademark is a unique symbol or sign which may be a label or numeral or combination of colours for identification of your goods or services. You can obtain a trademark registration under the Trademarks Act, 1999. Trademark enables you and a third party to distinguish your products and services from those belonging to your competitor. However, it would be helpful to keep in mind that geographical names, common names, common trade words and common abbreviation cannot be registered as a trademark.
Apart from being unique, a Trademark should be easy to use, make your products marketable and create brand recognition for your products. Trademark registration has several advantages and benefits to the owner:
- Legal protection: Upon trademark registration, Trademarks are classified as intellectual property and are therefore protected from infringement. Trademark registration also confers an exclusive right to the use of the trademark in relation to the “Class” of goods or service it represents. Once you have filed the trademark application, the Symbol “TM” can be used with your products. The symbol “R” can be put into use only after you have obtained registration of your trademark. Further, you can use the ® symbol only for the goods and/or services listed in the registration certificate. In the case of unauthorised use of a registered trademark, you can seek relief for infringement in appropriate courts in the country.
- Product differentiation: Trademark registrations are distinct to the goods or services they represent. Trademark will enable differentiation of your product as against the products of your competitors. Also, since trademark registration will be valid for the entire class of goods or services so represented, it will help in distinctly identifying your products. Customers uniquely identify products carrying different trademark, thus creating a customer base for your product.
- Brand recognition: Customers associate a product’s performance, quality, features, and so on with the company making such products. They identify the product generally by the logo, which would be a registered trademark. Trademark registration facilitates brand recognition for your goods and services. It also creates goodwill associated with the brand. Thus, your brand is recognised as well as carries a market value over time. Brand recognition welcomes new customers while retaining loyal customers.
- Creation of an asset: Trademark registration creates an asset for a business enterprise. Trademark is recognised as an intangible asset for accounting and income tax purposes. Trademarks are intellectual property and carry a value associated with the products they represent. Trademarks can be sold, franchised, assigned or commercially exploited in any other manner. You can recognise the value or cost associated with trademarks in the books of accounts, and also claim a deduction for depreciation and recognise income from the same.
- Business valuation and goodwill: Trademarks registered and associated with your products enhance your overall business value, goodwill and net worth in the industry. Your trademark communicates your quality assurance, distinct features of your products and your organisation’s mission. Trademarks contribute to the growth of your business. They help retain loyal customers and protect the goodwill of your business.
- Trademark recognition: Trademark registered in India is valid for ten years from the date of filing of an application. However, the trademark can be further renewed. In a case where you want to use your trademark outside India or expand your business outside India, you need approval or trademark registration in the respective countries. In such cases, your trademark registration and business in India acts as a base to obtain registrations outside India.
- Business expansion: A trademark establishes a connection between the customers and the products of an enterprise. With efficient or unique products, you can create a customer base. Your trademark helps you in retaining and expanding the customer base. Registration of your trademark confers exclusive rights of use for 10 years and protects your business revenues. Business enterprises can leverage the benefits of a customer base by introsducing new products and expanding their business.