The term trademark refers to a recognizable symbol, phrase, word, or badge that denotes a specific product and legally differentiates it from all other products of its kind. A trademark solely identifies a product as about a specific company and recognizes the company’s ownership of the brand. Trademarks are generally considered a form of intellectual property and therefore are protected from infringement. Trademarks and their rights are protected by the Trademark Act,1999. To obtain the protection of trademark rights one has to register the trademark. It is important to register your trademark because it prevents others from copying and misleading your products with your symbol. Trademarks help the customers to recognise the brand and the brand value in one look such as the logo of a tick sign for Nike or a jumping wildcat for Puma etc.
In the Trademark Registration form, the person whose name is indicated as the applicant will be declared as the owner of the trademark once the trademark is successfully registered. Any individual, a company and an LLP can be an applicant and may apply for the registration for the particular trademark.
Trademark registration is important and necessary for a business because:
There are 45 trademark classes and all the goods and services are categorised across these classes. If your business operates across different goods/services that fall under different classes, you have to ensure that you apply for the trademark under all the applicable classes.
Some of the popular trademark classes in India are:
Class 9: which includes computer software and electronics,
Class 25: which includes clothing,
Class 35: which includes business management and advertising, and
Class 41: which includes education and entertainment.
Registration of a trademark is done by the registry of the trademarks. When you plan on registering a trademark there are a few steps involved.
Choosing a trademark:
Recognize to choose a unique and distinctive mark that will represent your company. The other important point is identifying which class you belong to. Currently, there are 45 classes of goods and services under which the trademark can be registered. Classes 1-34 are for goods and classes 35-45 are for service.
Once you have chosen your trademark it is advisable to search to check whether your chosen mark is similar to an already registered mark. You can either do this yourself by going to the website of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. On the website, you can find an option to do a public search. Once you click on this option you need to choose your class and search the online database.
Trademark is a distinct symbol or sign which may be a label or numeral or combination of colors for the identification of your goods or services. You can obtain a trademark registration under the Trademarks Act, 1999.
Trademark registration has several advantages and benefits to the owner:
Legal protection: Upon trademark registration, Trademarks are classified as intellectual property and are therefore protected from infringement. Trademark registration also grants an exclusive right to the use of the trademark about the “Class” of goods or services it represents. Once you have filed the trademark application, the Symbol “™” can be used with your products. The symbol “®” can be put into use only after you have obtained the registration of your trademark. Further, you can use the ® symbol only for the goods and/or services listed in the registration certificate.
Product differentiation: Trademark registrations are unique to the goods or services they represent. Trademark will enable differentiation of your product as against the products of your competitors. Also, the trademark registration will be valid for the entire class of goods or services so represented.
Brand distinction: Customers correlate a product’s performance, quality, features, and so on with the company making such products. They identify the product generally by the logo, which would be a registered trademark. Trademark registration simplifies brand recognition for your goods and services. It also creates goodwill associated with the brand. Thus, your brand is recognised as well as carries a market value over time. Brand distinction welcomes new customers while retaining loyal customers.
Pictorial Representation: A trademark is a visual representation of Products of the entity. It represents entities Products in the following ways:-
– Word Marks
– Service Marks
– Logos and Symbols
– Shape of Goods
– Series Marks
– Collective Trademarks
– Certification Mark
– Geographical Indicators
– Pattern Marks
– Sound Marks
– Color Marks
– Three Dimensional Marks
Creation of an asset: Trademark registration creates an asset for a business enterprise. Trademark is recognised as an intangible asset for accounting and income tax purposes. Trademarks are intellectual property and carry a value associated with the products they represent. Trademarks can be sold, franchised, assigned or commercially exploited in any other manner. You can recognise the value or cost associated with trademarks in the books of accounts, and also claim a depreciation deduction and recognise income from the same.
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