Updated on: Oct 12th, 2021
7 min read
Trademark is a term, symbol, expression or emblem that signifies and differentiates a particular product from the other products. A trademark could be a slogan, logo or brand that represents a product or a company. They also include fonts, patterns, colour marks and acronyms. Trademarks help to identify and differentiate the products of a particular company or proprietor from other opponents.
The owner of the registered trademark acquires exclusive usage rights over his/her trademark of the products or services. Suppose any other person uses a particular registered trademark without authorisation or permission of the owner. In that case, it amounts to infringement or misuse, and the trademark owner possesses the right to take legal action against the third party.
Android is a mobile Operating System (OS) designed primarily for touchscreen devices such as tablets and smartphones. Android OS is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software. It is a free platform that is openly available for every mobile application (Apps) inventor/developer.
An application inventor or developer can develop Applications by downloading the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). The Apps can be circulated on the android OS system across the world. Android contains millions of applications that can be accessed by anyone who owns an android device.
The Apps released on the android system are usually released and circulated by the developer/company under its unique name and design or logo, i.e. trademark. If the App’s trademark is registered, the other developers cannot use and release an App with a similar trademark. Thus, the App is protected from third-party infringement when its trademark is registered.
The owner of a registered trademark can remove other Apps from the android platform that use their App’s design or name. Moreover, the trademark of an App has the potential to gain massive success as a user identifies an App from its trademark.
Individuals owning an android device widely use android applications in their day-to-day activities and services. It is the trademark of an App that differentiates it from the other Apps available on the android system and creates an application based customer engagement. There is always a risk of unauthorised use of the App by another person. Thus, there is a requirement for protecting Apps from illegal use or duplication by other people.
The trademark of an application will protect it from being used by others without permission or authorisation. However, it is better to register the App’s trademark as registration will give the owner of the application an exclusive right to use the trademark and differentiate their App from other applications.
In case of unauthorised use of the trademark of an App by third parties, the registered trademark owner can sue the third parties for damages and get their App removed from the android platform for infringement. The trademark registration will protect the App name or design for ten years at a low cost. The registration can be renewed after its expiry period from time to time. The registered trademark gains the trust and goodwill of the customers.
The registered trademark of an App is an asset, i.e. the Intellectual Property of the developer/company. It can also be registered internationally for protecting the misuse of the App by foreign countries/individuals as the App is circulated across the globe. The trademark registration in India acts as a basis for international registration. Therefore, a registered trademark is required for an android application.
The trademark registration procedure is as follows:
The first step is to select a name for the App. While choosing a name for the App, it must be kept in mind to choose a name that is unique and different from the existing App name/design. Along with the name, a design or logo can be made to be attached to the name. The design/logo and name can be registered as a single trademark.
After selecting the App name, it is better to search the name using the trademark name search from the official website of Trademarks. Through this search, the owner of App can get to know if any other App exists that has a similar name. This step is necessary as there are millions of applications on the android platform, and thus, the proposed name of the App needs to be unique, so it does not match with the existing Apps.
If the proposed trademark of the App is similar to an existing trademark, then the registration application will be rejected. Thus, if the proposed trademark is similar to another trademark or contains prohibited names, the owner must change the name or design and then apply for trademark registration.
Once the above steps are complete, the trademark owner should fill Form TM-A and submit it to the Registrar of Trademarks for registration. The final cost for registering the trademark App depends on how broad and extensive the App is.
On submission of the application, the trademark is examined by the Registrar and published in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. If there is no objection to the trademark application, the Registrar will accept the application and grant the Registration Certificate.
The benefits of registering the android application trademark are as follows:
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