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Trademark For E-Commerce Sellers/Companies

Updated on:  

08 min read

Trademark is a unique symbol, word, name, or logo that signifies a company or business. The public recognises the goods and services of a business with its trademarks. The company or business can obtain registration for its trademark under the Trademarks Act, 1999 in India.

However, registration of a trademark is not compulsory. But there are several benefits of registering a trademark. The trademark registration will protect it from being infringed or used by third parties in an unauthorised manner. E-commerce sellers or companies can obtain trademark registration for the trademark associated with their goods or services.

Role of Trademark of E-commerce Sellers/Companies

The e-commerce business and e-commerce platforms have grown considerably in the last few years in India. The local retailers in India have established and expanded their business on e-commerce platforms. Many e-commerce companies have registered on e-commerce platforms to sell their goods or services directly to consumers online. 

The growing internet usage has made every brand, its products and kinds available online to the world. Thus, it is significant for an e-commerce seller or company to have a unique trademark for its products. A brand or logo helps the public or consumers to recognise the products of the e-commerce seller or companies easily. 

The trademark of an e-commerce seller/company will attract and retain the consumers as they remember the trademark of a product, search for it and purchase it repeatedly. It will help to increase the goodwill and popularity of the products of the company/seller. Unique trademarks and their associated products will have worldwide recognition.

Difference Between Name Approval Under Companies Act and Trademark

The name of a company will not act as a trademark. Sometimes, the name itself can be a trademark if it is unique. The name of a company combined with a symbol can also be a trademark of a company. However, the company name registered under the Companies Act, 2013 is different from a trademark registered under the Trademark Act, 1999.

The Registrar of Companies (ROC) will approve the name of a company before it is registered. The ROC will reject the company name if it is similar to the name of another registered company. The company name approved by the ROC does not assure Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) over that particular name.

For obtaining IPR on a company name, the company must apply for trademark registration under the Trademark Act, 1999. The Trademark Registry may reject the company name approved by the ROC if it is similar to another registered trademark or not unique. Thus, it is recommended for an e-commerce company to file a trademark registration application under the Trademark Act to secure its brand. 

Is Trademark Registration Compulsory for E-commerce Sellers/Companies?

Trademark registration of an e-commerce seller/company is not compulsory. However, it is preferable to get the trademark registration as the registration protects the trademark from unauthorised usage and provides many benefits to the trademark owners. The following are the benefits of registering trademarks at an early stage of an e-commerce business:

  • Prior usage of trademarks

Trademark law gives priority to the company that establishes the first use of a trademark. It means that if a company or seller shows proof of prior use of a trademark, it will give an edge over another person or competitor using the same mark irrespective of its registration. In most circumstances, the proof of prior usage of a trademark supersedes registration. Thus, it is advisable to start using the trademark as soon as the business commences and get it registered to acquire proof of prior usage of the trademark.

  • Rights to transfer the trademark 

The trademark registration gives the right to the trademark owner to assign the trademark right in favour of another person. The right to assign a trademark helps the startups to attract potential buyers or investors. Investors look positively at companies that have obtained a trademark registration.

Are Trademarks Registered in India Valid Worldwide?

Since e-commerce businesses are not restricted to do business only in India and have access worldwide, there arises a question if the trademark registered in India is valid internationally. The registered trademark in India can acquire international registration under the Madrid Protocol. The conditions of the Madrid Protocol are as follows: 

  • Madrid Protocol allows for an easy-filing and cost-effective trademark grant in a network of around 100 countries. India is a member of this international treaty for trademarks since 2013. 
  • The filing for trademark registration under the Madrid protocol can be done through the Indian trademarks office. 
  • Domestic e-commerce companies/sellers have to specify the multiple jurisdictions of their choice where they wish to obtain the protection for their trademark while filing trademark registration applications.
  • The trademark registration application can be made online through the Indian trademark website. If there is no objection to the trademark registration within 18 months of application, the trademark registration is granted.

Benefits of Trademark Registration of E-commerce Sellers/Companies

The trademark registration provides the following benefits for e-commerce sellers/companies:

Protects the business 

The trademarked products, goods and services are protected from being misused. The business name or logo gets protection from unauthorised usage by third parties. The business having a registered trademark prevents anyone from using the registered trademark product and protects from infringement.

Brand value safety

Trademark registration of e-commerce sellers or companies protects the products, goods and services nationally and internationally. They get the advantage of brand value, recognition, protection and safety from injuries.

E-commerce marketplace

The e-commerce marketplace or platforms or web stores such as Amazon, Flipkart, eBay and Walmart give the option to register with a registered trademark. Certain marketplaces like Amazon have a Brand Registry program. The Brand Registry provides various added marketing chances and analytical data to the Amazon sellers or companies part of the program.

Trademark search

Every company/seller applying for trademark registration will do a trademark search on the Indian trademark website. It is a comprehensive search that avoids costly problems in the future. The registered trademarks similar to a proposed trademark appear in the search thus, preventing the new similar trademarks from being registered and causing confusion in the public’s minds and its misuse by another branded trademark.

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.

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