How to Register a Brand Name in India
A company’s brand says volumes about it and the range of goods and services it offers. For all types of commercial enterprises, brand registration or trademark registration is therefore necessary. When it comes to trademark registration or brand registration for businesses or people, it is a process that requires the assistance of a few skilled and well-trained trademark professionals.
Reasons to Register your Brand Name
A brand may be a company name, domain name, product name, slogan, logo, word, design, or other characteristic that sets one company’s goods and services apart from those of rivals. All businesses that manufacture goods or offer services need to have a strong brand. In India, registering a brand involves a number of procedures, including those for registering a domain name, a company name, a trademark, and a copyright, as follows:
As more people search online for businesses, goods, and services, branding efforts begin with domain registration. All businesses now demand an online presence, thus it’s critical to secure the necessary domain name that is also the company’s brand name. The first step in securing a brand name or registering a brand is to register a domain name because it is inexpensive and quick to do so. Therefore, it is crucial to first register the domain that will be connected to the brand registration.
The majority of popular domain names ending in.com or.net have already been taken, so a company may have to make do with a domain ending in.in,.co.in, or another extension. Google domains and GoDaddy both allow you to check the availability of domain names.
The branding process for new businesses being established by startups begins with the choice of the company name. The business name is the entity’s legal name as it appears on its bank account, tax filings, legal documents, employment contracts, etc. The business’s name need not be the same as its brand name or website. However, having a company name that is close to the domain and brand name is a good touch. Makemytrip, where the brand name Makemytrip fits the company name Makemytrip Limited, is an example of a business name that corresponds to the brand name.
After choosing a brand name, the entrepreneur can check the availability of other names using Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ Company or limited liability partnership (LLP) Name Check facility. Remember that any proposed business name that is close to or identical to the name of an existing company, LLP, or trademark will not be approved by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The only registration that offers complete brand name protection is a trademark registration. A trademark can be used to protect a variety of things, including a company’s name, slogan, logo, and design. Therefore, companies seeking to invest a lot in branding or brand marketing must unquestionably register their trademarks. The business must submit a trademark registration application under one or more trademark classes related to the products or services it plans to sell. The page on conducting a trademark search in India contains comprehensive information on doing so.
The TM symbol may be used next to a trademark after a trademark application has been submitted to the Trademark Registrar. However, trademark registration is a drawn-out procedure that may take longer than a year. Therefore, a trademark application must be filed as soon as feasible, and it must be followed up on until the trademark is registered. The ® symbol can be used next to the brand to alert people that it is a registered trademark once the trademark has been filed. One of the most crucial components of brand registration in India is trademark registration.
Producers of cinematographic films and sound recordings are entitled to copyright registration and protection for their literary, dramatic, musical, and esthetic works. The business’s logo may be copyrighted to gain further brand registration if the company has a distinctive mark with creative elements. Generally, it is impossible to copyright logos that are not particularly distinctive or lack any esthetic elements. The distinctive and artistic Starbucks Coffee logo is an example of a trademark-eligible logo.
Applications for logo copyright must be submitted to the Copyright Office in the format required. Trademark registration often takes longer than copyright registration. So, in addition to registering their trademarks, businesses that need speedy brand registration can also apply to register their copyrights.
What Can You Register As a Trademark?
There are numerous facets of your brand’s image that might be trademarked. Which component of your brand stands out to your customers is the factor you need to take into account. To register, select the relevant aspect(s).
- Product Name: The name of a certain product can be registered as a trademark. The iPod is a trademarked product name of Apple.
- Business Name: The most common course of action for businesses is to register a company name as a trademark,similar to Bajaj.
- Person’s Name/Surname: You can even register a trademark for your name if it is crucial to making money. Shah Rukh Khan has registered his name as a trademark.
- Abbreviations: A trademark can also include a corporation or brand name’s abbreviations. Ex: BMW.
It is very important to trademark your logo because it serves as a physical representation of your brand. A logo is easier for your customers to remember than a name. The Nike “swoosh” is a fantastic illustration of a logo trademark.
You can also register your brand’s tagline as a trademark if you have one. A tagline explains to your target audience what your company stands for. Take KFC’s “It’s finger lickin’ good” as an illustration.
- Color Mark: A color or color combination can be trademarked. (For instance, Royal Blue has been trademarked by Cadbury.)
- Sound Mark: If we can demonstrate that a musical note or sound is distinctive, we can register it as a trademark. Nokia registered its song as a trademark.
- Scent Mark: Even scents can be trademarked.
Why Is Trademark Registration Important?
For a firm, trademark registration is crucial and required because:
- It displays your distinctive personality.
- It aids in fostering consumer loyalty and trust.
- It provides your brand’s identity with legal protection.
- It stands alone as a plus.
- It prevents the identity of your brand from being misused.
There are 45 trademark classes, and each class has a category for the various products and services. The classifications you choose must be carefully considered since they will affect whether or not your trademark is valid for the goods and services offered by your company. Make sure to file for the trademark under all the relevant classes if your company offers a variety of goods and services that fall under several classifications.
In India, some of the most popular trademark classes are:
- Class 9: electronics and software for computers,
- Class 25: includes apparel,
- Class 35 covers marketing and business management, and Class 41 covers education and recreation.
- The competition for a trademark may be greater if you are in one of these trademark classifications. That shouldn’t matter, though, as long as your mark is distinctive.
Documents Required for Trademark Registration
You must first give us the following information:
- Candidate’s name
- Business type
- Business objectives
- Brand/logo/slogan name
- Registration address
The documents required are the following:
- Signed Form-48
- Identification proof of the signatory
- Address proof of the signatory
- Business proof (depends on the type of business)
Udyog Aadhar/MSME registration certificate (optional)
Step 1: Trademark search: (time needed: 4–5 hours)
This search is intended to determine whether your company’s name or logo is similar to any already-registered trademarks. The trademark agent or attorney frequently conducts this search with the Trademark Office to determine whether any similar trademarks have already been registered in that class. The two sorts of searches are online and offline. It is advised that you carry out both searches. Similar to this, Vakilsearch offers effective trademark search tools at reasonable prices that are outfitted with precise technology to carry out customized trademark search parameters.
Step 2: Class and documents Search (5–6 hours)
Choosing the appropriate class or classes for your business is the next step. You shouldn’t worry too much, though. With the help of our experts,you can choose the best lessons to handle every aspect of your business. On your dashboard, you can simultaneously start uploading each of the necessary documents for trademark registration.
Step 3: Trademark application: (time needed: 2–5 days)
If the trademark attorney determines that your company name or logo is distinctive, they will draught a trademark application based on their research. The TM sign may be used as soon as you complete the trademark application form. Our personnel will guarantee that your application is accurate and error-free.
Up until the registration is finished, we’ll keep you informed and keep an eye out for any Trademark Registry alerts.
Step 4: Trademark registration: (time needed: 8–24 months)
For individuals, startups, or small businesses, government fees are ₹ 4,500 (they are ₹ 9,000 in all other situations), while trademark attorneys’ professional fees are ₹ 3,500 per application and per class.
The Trademarks Office will review your application to discover if it has previously been claimed. If this is the case, a trademark objection will be submitted, and a reply must be submitted within 30 days. If there are no complaints, it also publishes advertising in the Trade Marks Journal. A third party may also file an opposition to your counterstatement at this point in time within 2 months. Your trademark will be registered 6 months from now if no other businesses file objections in the ensuing 4 months. Additionally, our experts can assist you in creating a strong objection response and walk you through the process of submitting the appropriate paperwork and proof.
Logo Registration: All You Need To Know
Once your company starts to take off, registering your mark has many benefits. Although registering a logo requires some work, it will allow you to use the logo (or even the text, sound, visuals, or color combination associated with it) as legal evidence of your ownership in court.
Additionally, registering a logo prevents other companies operating in the same industry as yours from registering logos that are identical to yours. Additionally, during their intellectual property audit, any investor would be interested in knowing if you have a registered logo. You can follow along as we lead you through the India logo registration process in the section that follows.
Logo Availability Search
Time to Complete: 1 day
Checking to determine if your distinctive name or logo is already taken is the first step. You may have already conducted some basic researchto find out if there are any domains with the same name as you. But it needs to be done correctly via the Trademarks Office. Both online and offline, this is feasible.
You should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney, ideally a specialist at Vakilsearch. They can do an in-depth search because they are knowledgeable about the subtleties of trademark searches.
2. Filing of Form TM-1
Time to Complete: 2 working days
Cost: Starting from ₹4,000 per application, per class + lawyer’s fees
It is now time to file Form TM-1 since you have your name. There would only be one application on each of these forms. You would therefore need to submit four applications if you wished to register the trademark in two classifications (i.e., sectors), such as Relentless Shoes and Relentless Hardware, as well as a different logo for each.
If you calculate the cost of registering a government logo at $4,500 per application, you would be shelling out $18,000 in this situation. The cost of the attorney, which begins at $2,000 per application, would be additional.
3. Use your Trademark
Time to Complete: Does not apply
Cost: Does not apply
Congratulations! Your trademark may now use the TM symbol. However, there will also be a lengthy wait before you receive the registration mark, which enables you to use the ® symbol. Up to 2 years may pass during this process. And that’s if everything proceeds according to plan.
4. Issue of Examination Report
Time to Complete: from 3 to 6 months
Cost: Free, but ₹ 4,000 to ₹ 6,000 in case of an objection
The investigation of your claim to the registered logo has just started. The government will first decide if it has any issues with your application. If so, what transpires is as follows:
- No Objection
- If the government has no objection to the trademark you’ve applied for in its examination report, it will issue a Letter of Acceptance (also known as a TLA order), after which an advertisement will be placed in the Trade Marks Journal.
- An Objection
- There are several reasons why the government might object to a proposed trademark, for example:
- It can find the name or logo to be too close to a trademark already in use, or
- think it’s offensive or might offend someone’s religious sensibilities, etc.
- You must pay an additional ₹3,000 as well as the lawyer’s logo registration fees, which should cost between ₹4,000 and ₹5,000 if you want to contest this issue. This will help you formulate a response to the criticism or provide proof of the distinctiveness of your brand. It’s possible to post an interview with the examiner as well. In this case, it is essential that the attorney be wellversed in your company’s operations. If the government drops its protest, a commercial will appear in the Trade Marks Journal.
5. Advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal
Time to Complete:from 3 to 6 months
Cost: Free, but legal fees in case of opposition
The trademark is now ready for public viewing in the Trade Marks Journal after receiving government approval. The trademark registration certificate will be issued in 6 to 10 months if there are no objections filed against it within 4 months of its publication.
If there is an objection, though, the topic can be put off for months while both parties have the chance to be heard. Registration fees for valid logos would also be required.
6. Trademark Registration
Time to Complete: Up to 9 months
Cost: This does not apply
The trademark will be registered about 9 months after the publication of the advertisement. After the registrar rules in your favor, you have 9 months to file an opposition. The registered trademark has a 10-year term and an unlimited renewal period.
About 9 months after the advertisement is published, the trademark will be officially registered. Following the registrar’s favorable decision, you have 9 months to file an opposition. The registered trademark has a 10-year expiration date and is renewable indefinitely.
What is the Difference Between Word, Logo, and Logo Composite Mark?
As in the cases of Coca-Cola, BMW, and Levis, many trademarks combine the logo and the brand—that is, the logo contains the brand name—in what is referred to as a composite mark. Levis has a more complex composite logo mark that incorporates where its labels are placed on the jeans.
All business organizations must protect their brand identity to build a strong brand presence. A brand is any outward representation of how your target market engages with your goods and services; it is the identity of your business.
The majority of business owners are confused about how to protect their trademarks and choose to disregard the significance of obtaining brand protection, which includes trademark registration. However, registering a trademark for your brand aids in protecting its integrity and deterring rivals.
You can register a term, logo, sound, image, color scheme, or even a smell as a trademark. Popular firms have managed to trademark everything, from the color of the packaging (Cadbury’s) to the placement of the composite label on pants (Levi’s).
However, only extremely successful brands typically trademark anything other than their brand name, logo, or composite logo design.
Now let’s talk about what a wordmark, logo mark, and composite logo mark are.
The wordmark, the simplest of the three, is connected to the company name. Therefore, it is referred to as a wordmark if a corporation, such as Reliance, Hero Motors, or Parle, has only trademarked their official name. As a result, most firms will just register their brand name inside their industry (a toy manufacturer would only file a trademark under Class 28).
This means that the trademark would still be allowed even if there is an existing company using the same name as the toy manufacturer but in a different industry, unless the other company can show that its clients are confused about who owns the toy manufacturer’s brand.
Even if the application is limited to an industry that McDonald’s is not involved in, the wordmark would not likely be authorized if the present company is a well-known one (such as McDonald’s).
If you want your clients to recognize you by your distinctive, catchy logo, you should submit a trademark application for that logo. Consumers may easily recognize the logos of many popular firms, making them wellknown. Nike, Mercedes, Apple, and so forth are a few examples. These businesses have opted to have their logos registered because they use them frequently on their products, in marketing and advertising, and in all other interactions with customers. You’ll notice that none of the three brands mentioned earlier have their brand name mentioned anywhere on their logos if you look closely.
Logo Composite Mark
The name of the company is included in a composite logo mark. It is a combination of the brand name and logo. Coca-Cola and BMW are two well-known examples. The positioning of Levi’s label at the rear of its pants is incorporated into the company’s intricate composite logo mark.
However, startups often don’t file a logo composite mark until they learn that their brand has already been registered as a trademark by another company or is too close to another brand name. These petitions are typically accepted on the basis that they are being represented by a different mark, despite the register’s right to object.
Adopting a brand name that isn’t entirely unique is generally a bad choice since problems could arise if your brand competes with one that has already been registered.
The internet has brought people and businesses together around the globe and created new marketplaces. Businesses can now quickly access new markets throughout the globe without being limited by geography. Brand name protection is necessary due to the business expansion into additional markets and rising advertising costs. In light of the aforementioned, we are convinced that our blog will aid readers in understanding the procedure for trademark registration and brand name protection in India.