Updated on: Nov 24th, 2021
7 min read
A trademark is a name, logo, symbol or brand through which a company’s goods or services are identified. It differentiates the goods or services of a company from that of others. A company may sell many different types of goods or render different services under the same trademark.
In India, the Trademarks Law classifies the trademarks used for different goods and services under 42 classes. When a company produces goods and renders services belonging to different trademark classes, it must obtain trademark registration under each trademark class to get protection for that respective class of goods and services.
A company need not apply separate trademark applications to protect trademarks under different classes of goods or services. It can file a single multiclass trademark application for getting the trademark registered under two or more classes of goods and services. The trademark application for getting multiclass trademark registration is Form TM-A.
It is necessary to obtain multiclass trademark registration when the same trademark is used for goods and services that come under different trademark classes to get complete trademark protection against infringement.
For example – ITC Limited company manufactures and sells different types of goods that belong to different trademark classes under its ‘ITC Limited’ trademark. Since it manufactures different products, it must obtain trademark registration in all related classes to protect its products.
Since filing separate trademark registration applications for different classes is tedious and time-consuming, a company can apply for a multiclass trademark registration application. A company can simultaneously apply for trademark registration for more than one class of products through a multiclass trademark registration application.
The process to file a multiclass trademark registration application is as follows:
Trademark owners/companies need to do a trademark search for each trademark class under which it wants to apply. They must search and find out if a similar or identical trademark exists for the goods manufactured in each respective class.
If a similar or identical trademark exists for the goods under one class and not under another class, then there will be an objection for its registration in that class which may result in rejection of the registration under all applied classes. Thus, the trademark owner must ensure that similar trademarks do not exist in all the classes for which the registration is applied.
A trademark owner can file a single trademark application for the registration of a trademark under multiple classes. For multiclass trademark registration, a trademark owner/company can mention all the classes in the same application (Form TM-A). The application can be filed online on the ipindia website or offline by submitting it to the Office of Trademarks Registry.
After the trademark owner files the trademark registration application, the examiner will review the application for discrepancies. When the examiner accepts the application, the trademark will be published in the trademarks journal.
When the trademarks are published in the trademarks journal, any third party can oppose its registration under all classes or one class of registration. In such a case, the whole trademark registration comes to a halt. The Registrar of Trademark (Registrar) will conduct a hearing on the opposition for trademark registration under one class or all classes.
The Registrar will give a decision on the opposition. However, when there is no opposition within the prescribed period (three months), the Registrar proceeds to issue trademark registration.
When the Registrar dismisses trademark opposition, or there is no opposition on the publication of the trademark, he/she will issue a Trademark Registration Certificate for all mentioned trademark classes under the seal of the Trademark Office.
Single Trademark Application
The applicant of a multiclass trademark application can file a single application for registering a trademark under different classes. When a multiclass trademark application is filed, the Registrar will process all the classes together for registration, thus saving registration time.
Ease in Filing
It is tedious and time-consuming to file separate applications for every class of trademark registration. It is easy to fill one trademark application with correct information rather than filling many applications. There is also less documentation work involved in a multiclass application.
Renewal of Trademark Registration
Renewal of multiclass trademark registration can be effectively done through a single application. When a single multiclass renewal application is filed, the Registrar will examine and renew all classes of trademark registration simultaneously.
Trademark Application Fees
There is no distinction in the government fees for a single and multiclass trademark application. The trademark owner has to pay fees for each separate class. Thus, there is no benefit in fees when filing a single or multiclass trademark application.
Objection to Application
As the trademark owner files a single application for all classes, the entire registration process will halt when there is objection or opposition in any one class. However, a trademark owner can file a divisional application to separate the objected or opposed trademark class registration from the multiclass trademark application.
When the objected or opposed trademark class is separated from the multiclass trademark application, the Registrar will proceed with granting registration for other classes of trademark mentioned in the multiclass application and conduct a hearing on the objected or opposed trademark class. However, divisional applications will take extra time and fees.
Trademark Usage in Each Class
The trademark for which the company or trademark owner obtains multiclass registration must use the trademark for the products manufactured or sold under all the trademark classes. Sometimes the trademark may be actively used in certain classes but will not be active in all classes. In such a case, the Registrar will cancel the registration for the class in which it is not used.
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