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Understanding Trademark: Definition, Application Process, and Legal Protection


Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

Discover the concept of trademarks, who can file a trademark application, the government fees involved, the categories for filing, the legal protection granted, and the step-by-step process of obtaining a trademark. Learn more about trademarks and their significance.

A trademark is a form of legal protection provided to unique elements such as words, phrases, symbols, designs, or combinations thereof that distinguish goods or services offered by a company. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of trademarks, including their definition, application process, and the legal protection they afford.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a legally recognized identifier used to distinguish goods or services provided by a company. It can be a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements. The legal protection for trademarks is granted under the Trademark Act, ensuring exclusive rights to the trademark owner.

Who Can File a Trademark Application?

  1. Individual/Sole Proprietor
  2. Startups
  3. Small Enterprises
  4. Others (Trusts and large companies can file under this category)

Government Fees for Filing a Trademark Application:

The government fees for filing a trademark application depend on the filing method and the entity type: For Online Filing:

  • Individual/Sole Proprietor or Startup or Small Enterprise: Rs. 4500/-
  • Small Enterprise (MSME Registration mandatory): Rs. 4500/-
  • Companies without MSME registration (considered as large companies): Rs. 9000/-

For Physical Filing:

  • Individual/Sole Proprietor or Startup or Small Enterprise: Rs. 5000/-
  • Small Enterprise (MSME Registration mandatory): Rs. 5000/-
  • Companies without MSME registration (considered as large companies): Rs. 10,000/-

Categories for Filing a Trademark Application:

Trademark applications can be filed under the following categories:

  1. Word Mark
  2. Colour Mark
  3. Device Mark
  4. Sound Mark
  5. Shape of Goods

Legal Protection Granted for Registered Trademarks:

Once a trademark is registered, the owner enjoys exclusive rights and protection against others using a similar trademark. The ownership of the trademark is valid for ten years from the date of registration. Upon filing a renewal application, the Registrar of Trademarks can grant another ten-year period.

Step-by-Step Process of Trademark Application:

The process of obtaining a trademark involves the following steps:

  1. Public Search: Conduct a thorough search to ensure the uniqueness of the trademark.
  2. Filing of Trademark Application: Prepare and submit the application along with the required documents.
  3. Payment of Fee: Pay the prescribed government fees for the application.
  4. Receipt of Application No.: Upon submission, receive an application number for future reference.
  5. Advertisement of Application: The application is published for public viewing and potential opposition.
  6. Opposition for Registration: If any opposition arises within three months from the date of advertisement, it must be addressed.
  7. Registration or Rejection: If no opposition is filed, the application proceeds toward registration. In case of opposition, a counter statement needs to be filed within two months.
  8. Hearing of Parties: The Registrar conducts a hearing to consider the arguments from both parties.
  9. Decision: Based on the hearing and examination, the Registrar decides whether to grant or reject the trademark application.


Understanding trademarks is essential for safeguarding your brand identity and protecting your goods or services from unauthorized use.

G.Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons)

G Durghasree B.A.B.L (Hons) is a registered trademark attorney with extensive experience as an Advocate for a period of 8 years. She possesses expertise in trademark law, including trademark filing and trademark hearings. Additionally, she is skilled in contract drafting and reviewing, providing legal advice and opinions, particularly in the areas of Company Law, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and Goods and Service Tax Law (GST). Her experience encompasses both litigation and non-litigation aspects of these laws.