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Difference Between Trademark and Well-Known Trademark


Let’s first define a trademark before elaborating on the difference between a common and a well-known one. Any unique symbol, logo, or sign that distinguishes a company for its variety of products and services is considered a trademark. Numbers, patterns, phrases, sounds, or even colours may be used as trademarks. A corporation may spend millions developing its reputation, which is rewarded whenever a customer associates any aspect of the business with its brand.

Why it’s Important to Know the Difference?

The top priority for organisations is to guard their trademark, which they have laboured to build with large amounts of time and money. Companies can check their trademark in India in order that other businesses cannot use it. This makes people more aware of the brand and keeps them loyal.

Not only that, but companies that think their brand personality is better could choose to register a name as a well-known mark, which would give them more security from the government.

For new companies looking to find out whether their brand image is similar to one that has already been filed, a trademark search is a helpful resource. People who want to make the right buy might find it helpful to know the difference between well-known and popular names.

The law that rules both common and well-known trademarks:

The Indian Trade Marks Act of 1999 has rules about both well-known and common marks. Laws like the ones mentioned above protect trademark owners legally and point out trademark standards, such as how to make a name “well known.” Also, the Trademark Rules of 2017, which can be primarily based on the Trade Marks Act, play a huge role in registering and protecting trademarks, in addition to making it easier to identify famous makers. These legal rules spell out what a well-known brand is, why it is a very good idea to register it, and the way it protects you from infringement and passing off.

What does “Trademark” mean to you?

The Trademark Act of 1999 created the word “trademark.” Registering a brand is a step that helps in the protection of certain names or symbols. A trademark is just any sign, symbol, mark, logo, etc., that has been connected to the company’s brand name.

One must register a trademark in order to get copyright protection. A proper process has to be taken when getting this brand registration. By ensuring that no one else may use or copy your business name, this process helps you stand out in a busy market, attract customers, and build client trust.

Well-known Trademarks:

A well-known trademark has gotten a lot of attention from the public, as the word suggests. According to the Indian Trademarks Act, a name that is “widely known to the general public in India” and has “acquired substantial goodwill” in the market is called well-known.

The rule offers better security for well-known names than for common names. This is because their worth and value to the company’s brand image are bigger. The following factors are taken into consideration when analysing whether a name is well-known in India:

  • The degree of awareness of the trademark within the relevant public segment, including both domestic and international knowledge
  • How much the trademark has been utilised outside or in India
  • The degree to which the trade association or other relevant body has acknowledged the trademark
  • The length of time, scope, and geographic region of any trademark usage
  • The track record of effectively enforcing trademark rights

Assume that a property is thought well-known. In such an instance, even if the goods or services given change from those covered by the brand registration, they are quickly protected from illegal use. This shows that even in situations wherein the goods or services being given are definitely different, a business can be sued for trademark infringement if it uses a well-known mark in a way that is likely to confuse or misinform the public.

Additionally, well-known trademarks are protected against dilution, that is, the practice of a company to use a mark close to the authentic brand to lessen its strong point or image. This means that the other company may still be sued for dilution even if it is not directly in competition with the owner of the well-known brand.

Common Trademark Registration Procedure

1. Requirement for Distinctiveness:

  • A brand has to be unique, not just informative or generic.
  • It should be able to tell one company’s goods or services apart from another.

2. Trademark Search:

Make sure another party isn’t already using the chosen brand by doing a thorough search. Doing this prevents any arguments and rejections during the registration process.

3. Filing application:

  • Send a trademark application and the required fees to the relevant intellectual property authority.
  • Provide information about the mark, the goods or services it will represent, and its intended use.

4. Analysis and Publication:

  • The trademark office studies the application to make sure it fits with all relevant laws.
  • The trademark is released for public feedback in the official newspaper if approved.

5. Registration:

The trademark is registered if all conditions are met and there are no complaints during the opposition time. The exclusive right to use the mark in combination with certain goods or services is given by the registration, along with legal protection.

The Registration Process for Well-Known Trademarks

1. Application Procedure:

  • Form TM-M must be filled out by the candidate and submitted with the official fee and any necessary supporting documents.
  • Evidence on the length, scope, and geographic reach of brand usage, marketing, registration, and regulation should be included in the application.

2. Criteria Considered:

  • The Registrar takes into account a variety of factors, such as the number of customers, marketing networks, and industry groups related to the goods or services, to assess whether a brand is well-known.
  • To be called a well-known name, the Registrar does not need the trademark to be used or registered in India.

3. Legal Protection:

  • Well-known brands are protected against misuse on a national and cross-category level.
  • The Registrar protects well-known trademarks against marks that are identical to or similar to them and takes into account any bad faith applications or oppositions.

4. Online Application Process:

  • In accordance with Trade Mark Rule 124, interested parties may make an online application by filling out Form TM-M and providing the required papers.
  • A statement describing the reasons for wanting their brand to be well-known must be provided by candidates.

5. Evidence Requirement:

  • The application needs certain important papers, including proof of brand use, licences, sales turnover, clients, and advertising costs.
  • Having thorough paperwork supports the application for renowned status.

Benefits of a Trademark vs. a Well-Known Trademark

Advantages of Trademarks

Recall and Brand Recognition:

  • Aids in setting a company apart in fierce marketplaces.
  • Creates a unique brand personality that builds client trust.

Legal Protection:

  • Grants the only right to use the mark in connection with certain goods or services.
  • Allows for civil action against other companies that break the law.

Worth Addition:

  • May be made money via sharing deals with other companies;
  • Increases a firm’s total worth by showing its goodwill and image.

Expansion Opportunities:

  • Enables companies to provide new goods and services and enter new markets.
  • Makes foreign growth easier by using already-established brand knowledge.

Competitive Advantage:

  • Assists companies to stand out from the competition and take the lead in their field.
  • Increases client trust and loyalty, giving business a competitive edge.

Marketing and Advertising Benefits:

  • Its recognizability makes advertising efforts more successful.
  • Reduces advertising costs and improves things’ exposure on shelves.

Advantages of a Well-Known Trademark

Increased Legal Defence:

  • Provides more protection than only the products or services listed during registration.
  • Guards against dilution and illegal use, even in cases where the products or services are separate.

Increased Business worth:

  • Emulating image and goodwill greatly raises a business’s worth. –
  • It draws in investors looking for powerful businesses with room to grow.

Attracting Quality Employees:

  • Because of the company’s established name, job hunters find it more appealing.
  • It raises staff happiness and creates a good working environment.

Collaboration Opportunities:

  • Creates the framework for successful partnerships that use a company’s image.
  • Increases market reach and opens doors for business growth.

Customer Trust and Experience:

  • Fosters a strong sense of trust with customers, which improves their loyalty and supports repeat
  • Improves the brand experience for customers by encouraging positive links.

In summary

A name and a well-known name are quite different from one another. Under the trademark Act of 1999, knowing the difference between a common name and a well-known name is important. A well-known brand has a broad understanding among customers who apply its goods or services. In comparison, a common brand is only a sign or term used to identify the goods or services of one company.

The degree of protection is the main difference between a trademark and a well-known trademark; a well-known trademark offers more complete protection than a trademark in some places. The same law covers both groups, with descriptions for common and well-known names in sections 2(zb) and 2(zg), respectively.

Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.