Tax filing stressing you out?
Take taxes off your mind

Tax filing stressing you out? Take taxes off your mind
Get our experts to do it for you

Sound Trademark in India

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Feb 28th, 2022


7 min read

social iconssocial iconssocial iconssocial icons

A legal entity can trademark a sound represented by musical notes series, without or with words in India. Sound trademarks are popular in the USA, and awareness about sound trademarks are fast rising in India. A jingle, musical composition or sound can play a significant role in brand recollection and boost the brand value of a business.

The Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 (‘Act’) does not define a sound trademark. The Act has explicitly stated that the trademark has to be capable of being graphically represented. Thus, a sound graphically represented by a series of musical notes without or with words can get protection under the Act. Sound trademarks are non-conventional trademarks.

The Trademarks Rules, 2017 (‘Rules’) explicitly recognises the sound as a trademark category. Due to the recognition of sound trademarks under the Rules, businesses will receive more exclusivity for their marketing and branding methods to attract, allure and appeal to consumers in a highly competitive market.

Prerequisites to Register a Sound Trademark

  • The sound mark must be a distinctive sound, jingle or musical composition associated with the product or service belonging to an enterprise or undertaking.
  • The application for sound trademark registration should be filed in Form TM-A.
  • The registration application filed for sound trademark (Form TM-A) should mention that the trademark registration is sound marks.
  • The sound to be trademarked must be submitted along with the registration application in the MP3 format not exceeding 30 seconds length recorded on a medium.
  • The sound recorded on a medium should allow for an easy and clear audible replay accompanied with the graphical representation of its notations.
  • The sound should contain musical notes, relative value, the pitch of the music, flats, sharps, etc.

The following may not be registered as sound marks under the Act:

  • Simple pieces of music containing only one or two notes.
  • Songs generally used as chimes.
  • Popular, well-known music relating to entertainment services or park services.
  • Nursery rhymes for services or goods aimed at children. 
  • Music associated with particular countries or regions for the type of services or goods provided in or originating from that area.

Registration of Sound Trademark in India

Sound mark registration is not mandatory under the Act. However, if a company product has unique music and is popular with the public, it is better to register the sound mark to avoid infringement. The following is the process for registering a sound mark in India:

  • The company or entity should file the Form TM-A for trademark registration.
  • In Form TM-A, the company or entity must mention the category of mark as a sound mark; otherwise, it will be considered as a device mark.
  • When the Registrar of Trademark is not satisfied with the sound mark, he/she can ask for clarification or require supporting documents from the applicant.
  • When the sound trademark has a unique note and does not overlap with any other existing sound trademark, it will be registered by the Registrar of Trademarks and granted a trademark registration certificate.

Documents Required for Registering a Sound Trademark

The documents required for registering the sound mark in India are as follows:

  • Graphical representation and written description of the sound mark stating the musical notes written in the clef (musical symbol used to mention the pitch of the written notes), stave, their relative value, flats and sharps.
  • The MP3 clip of the sound mark, not exceeding 30 seconds uploaded on an electronic gadget like CD, DVD, etc.

Examples of Registered Sound Trademarks

Below are a few examples of registered sound trademarks:

  • The roaring lion sound of MGM Entertainment.
  • The sound for Twentieth Century Fox, consisting the sounds of the drums, trumpets and strings.
  • The looney tunes theme by Time Warner Entertainment. 
  • The four bell sound of Britannia Industries. 
  • The Yahoo Yodel, i.e. the voice saying Yahoo.
  • The corporate jingle music of the ICICI bank.
  • The guitar sound while switching on the cell device of Nokia.
  • The Airtel ringtone composed by A.R Rahman.

Yahoo was the first sound mark to be given trademark registration in India, and the ICICI was the first sound mark to be registered by an Indian entity. Some other registered sound trademarks in India include: 

  • Certain sound marks of Allianz of Germany in respect of financial and insurance services.
  • The sound of Hisamitsu sung applied on a proposed to be used basis by the Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical Company of Japan. 
  • The popular musical sequence of ‘Raymond: The Complete Man’.

Benefits of Registering Sound Trademark

The following are the benefits of registering a sound mark in India:

Brand protection

The sound trademark protects the jingle or music associated with an entity. Once the sound trademark is registered, the entity has the right to sue anyone who violates those rights. Thus, if third parties use the registered sound mark without approval, the owner of the sound mark can file a case of infringement against such persons and prevent them from using the sound mark.

Exclusive use

The registration of a sound mark grants the right of exclusivity to the owner. Exclusivity means that only the owner has the right to sell or use the products or services with which the sound trademark is associated.

Business growth

A registered sound trademark is a solid legal basis upon which an entity can increase the status of its business in the market. The registration can support the entity and its business to make a sound mark global in the corporate world.

Builds image of the business

Sound, jingle, or music associated with an entity resonates well with the consumers and reflects the brand’s image. People remember the sound or jingle of a company, and thus, it helps boost the popularity of the company.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

inline CTA
Get an expert at affordable price
For ITR, GST returns, Company Registration, Trademark Registration, GST Registration
About the Author

I am an advocate by profession and have a keen interest in writing. I write articles in various categories, from legal, business, personal finance, and investments to government schemes. I put words in a simplified manner and write easy-to-understand articles. Read more


Clear offers taxation & financial solutions to individuals, businesses, organizations & chartered accountants in India. Clear serves 1.5+ Million happy customers, 20000+ CAs & tax experts & 10000+ businesses across India.

Efiling Income Tax Returns(ITR) is made easy with Clear platform. Just upload your form 16, claim your deductions and get your acknowledgment number online. You can efile income tax return on your income from salary, house property, capital gains, business & profession and income from other sources. Further you can also file TDS returns, generate Form-16, use our Tax Calculator software, claim HRA, check refund status and generate rent receipts for Income Tax Filing.

CAs, experts and businesses can get GST ready with Clear GST software & certification course. Our GST Software helps CAs, tax experts & business to manage returns & invoices in an easy manner. Our Goods & Services Tax course includes tutorial videos, guides and expert assistance to help you in mastering Goods and Services Tax. Clear can also help you in getting your business registered for Goods & Services Tax Law.

Save taxes with Clear by investing in tax saving mutual funds (ELSS) online. Our experts suggest the best funds and you can get high returns by investing directly or through SIP. Download Black by ClearTax App to file returns from your mobile phone.

Cleartax is a product by Defmacro Software Pvt. Ltd.

Company PolicyTerms of use


ISO 27001

Data Center


SSL Certified Site

128-bit encryption