1. What is a trademark?
A trademark is a visual symbol that represents a company. It can be depicted by way of a word signature, name, device, label, numerals or a combination of symbols.
The purpose of having a trademark is to distinguish the goods and services of one entity from that of the others. A trademark is generally used to brand products so that they are easily identifiable.
ClearTax helps you with trademark registration. Know more here.
2. What is the procedure to apply for a trademark?
Form TM-A is the form prescribed in order to apply for trademark registration.
The form comprises the following information:
i. Nature of the application
- Standard trademark: A normal application to be filed for a word, device or any such combination.
Collective mark: This is in cases where the mark belongs to a collective group or association of persons. For example, the Indian Standards Institute (ISI) mark.
- Certification mark: Generally, a certification mark on products refers to a mark of quality, validity or an assurance of the fact that the manufacturer has tested the product, and it meets the required standards. For example, the Fruit Products Order (FPO) mark.
- Series mark: The main element of the mark might be used/intended to be used in several forms/ways by the proprietor, and instead of filing separate applications each time, they can be filed as a series. For example, McDonald’s has a series of ‘Mc’ registered, which represents their different products such as Mc Veggie, Mc Chicken, etc.
ii. The constitution of the entity in whose name the trademark application is filed
The details to be filled here are with respect to whether the entity comes under the category of an individual/start-up/small enterprise/others. The fee levied will differ depending on the constitution of the application.
iii. Details of the applicant
The basic details such as the name, trade name and address of the principal place of business must be entered appropriately.
iv. Applicant’s agent details, if any
The basic details of the agent are to be provided in the prescribed form. Additionally, the nature of the agent needs to be specified too. The nature of the agent given in the form include the following:
- Registered Trade Marks Agent: A person who has completed 21 years of age and has a graduate-level degree from a recognised Indian University or a qualification equivalent to it is eligible to appear for the trademarks exam. Once he/she clears the exam, he/she becomes a registered trademark agent.
- Advocate: A legal professional who represents his client in a court of law.
- Constituted Attorney: Constituted attorney is a power of attorney holder acting on behalf of a person.
v. Trademark details
Here, category and description of the mark need to be mentioned clearly.
Category of the mark
- Word: A word mark is a word or a group of letters together. The word needn’t necessarily have a meaning. Word is the most common type of trademark. E.g.: IBM, TATA, etc.
- Device: A combination of pictures and words or illustrations is called a device mark. This includes logos, slogans and drawings. E.g.: Apple Logo, Android symbol, etc.
- Colour: A particular colour or a combination of colours can be considered as a trademark if it helps distinguish the product or service that the entity offers from that of the others. It is generally the toughest category of a trademark to be protected and enforced.
- Three-dimensional trademark: The three-dimensional shapes of certain products such as whiskey bottles, the Xbox 360 logo, etc. also serve as trademarks. They are usually represented by the physical appearance of the product or its packaging.
- Sound: Here, the tune has to play as the distinguisher of the services or products that the entity offers. The role played by the tune is its ability to create an impression in the head of the audience so that it becomes easy to recall. E.g.: National Stock Exchange theme song.
Description of the mark
- The mark should be represented clearly and legibly with the size not exceeding 8cm x 8cm.
- Where the combination of colours is other than black and white, the distinctiveness of the mark will be considered accordingly.
- In the case of colour marks, a description must be given in detail.
- In case of sound marks, a sound clipping in the MP3 format must also be submitted along with the application.
vi. Where the trademark is in a language other than English or Hindi
Firstly, the language has to be mentioned. Additionally, the translation of the mark in English has to be provided.
vii. Conditions or limitations with regards to usage
Any condition or limitation placed with regard to the use of the trademark has to be mentioned here in detail.
viii. Class of goods or services
The class of the particular goods or services that the trademark belongs to has to be specified clearly.
ix. A statement concerning the usage of the trademark
The statement with regard to the use of the trademark will be printed in the application under this head and will have to be filled in accordance with the same. This statement once made, shall be binding and final.
x. Priority claim
When a specific trademark is filed for the first time, the owner is granted a six month period from the date of first filing in order to be filed in any other country as well. This is done to ensure that the priority claim can be made on a specific trademark over the world to avoid future conflict.
The specified fields mentioned in the application must be filled accordingly.
xi. Any other information
Any additional information in relation to this statement, which is required or that the applicant feels is necessary may be provided here.
xii. Verification and details of the person submitting the application
The name, signature and the authority of the person submitting the application has to be mentioned in the boxes provided in the application against the declaration.