Trademark Registration : Protecting your brand

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 3320 , Published on 18 July 2011

Competition in the world of business has reached to a very high level. Companies are always on the lookout of finding better and newer ways of finding chinks in the armor of their competitors. Technology, innovations, breakthrough products are a mean by which companies look to topple each other. But there is another way by which companies leverage on an existing successful brand and uses it illegally to promote their own interest. This is where a legal tool comes into the picture which protects the logo, design and brand of an organisation. And this is the tool of Registration Trademark.


Trademark Process

Registration trademark under the Act of 1999 in India protects the brand name, logo, design or any other attribute which an organisation wants to get protected from any misuse. Trademark ensures that the brand name and logo registered is their property and if used by any other organisation, it is a legal violation of their intellectual property. Thus, companies must on priority get their trade name, logo, colors, design etc registered to give them a legal protection and a right to fight in case it is misused.


Trademark registration of a name and logo can be undertaken by any individual, single firm, partnership firm or a company. The entire registration process is extremely transparent so that every step involved in the process can be thoroughly studied and analyzed by the company.


Trademark registration process is conducted by firstly understanding the 'class' or the segment in which the business is done. The class or segment gives the field in which the product or service functions. The various classes are broadly classified as goods, services, education, business management, food products and henceforth. It is quite possible that a company operates in 2 or more fields simultaneously. In such a case, the company has to file for registration in all the classes it is present in.


The next step in getting a trademark registered is to find whether a similar name is already registered or not. In case a name is already taken by any other firm, then the company cannot use that registered name unless it is abandoned by the existing user. Thus it is preferred that companies look for names which are not taken or make their own creative name; else it might lead to an issue later.


The database of existing registered users is searched not only for similar matching names but also checks 2 other important aspects, namely phonetic match for name and Vienna classification match for logo. Phonetic search looks for similar sounding names and Vienna code helps in recognizing whether a similar looking isn’t registered. Once all the above steps are covered, a company can file registration with the Registrar of Trademarks, and the registration process would start.


During the process, the Registrar of Trademarks releases a public journal displaying the names applied for registration. Companies having existing registered names can file for objection if they find an ambiguity. Also, an objection can be filed if a generic term or keyword is being applied for registration. If there is a problem, the registration process is halted unless all the issues are cleared. Once the process is successfully cleared, the company is a registered trademark, and the brand name becomes their legal property for a period of ten years. Thus, the image and name associated with the brand get secured from any misuse.


Companies are always on the lookout for misusing a brand, logo, design, pattern etc to confuse the customer and leverage on a successful brand. This not only results in loss of customers but also decreases a brand's credibility and hampers brand equity. Therefore to fight the theft intellectual property and securing a brand, trademark registration is the most important process.


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