Before going over the trademarks you can register in India, we need to assess what the different types of trademarks are and how they function in India.
WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?
The term trademark can be defined as any recognisable insignia, phrase, word or symbol that denotes a specific product or service and helps one legally distinguish all other products or services of its kind. It legally binds a product’s identification to its brand while recognizing the company’s ownership of the same.
WHY DOES IT NEED TO BE REGISTERED?
A trademark needs to be registered in order to prevent products of a similar kind from being exact replicas or being misinterpreted as one another. Trademark registration allows customers to recognise one product from another based on brand value and loyalty to the brand name or symbol which is trademarked.
TYPES OF TRADEMARKS IN INDIA
The types of trademarks that can be registered in India by The Trademarks Act of 1999, are as follows:
- Words and Service Marks
These are the most commonly registered trademarks in India. They refer to any marks that are used to identify the products and services of any trading company or service providing company. Service marks refer to the services your company is dealing in, which are filed under trademark classes 35-45.
If the name of the product or service is text-based it’ll be registered under the words and service marks in India. A leading example of the same is the word Nestle, which is trademarked under the Word-Mark. FedEx is a renowned courier delivery service which is trademarked under the Service Mark.
- Shape Marks
The shapes of goods are categorised under Trade Dress which pertains to the appearance of the product. The Coca Cola bottle is a good example of the same, the shape of the bottle which is trademarked by the company distinguishes the product from all its other competitors in the market.
- Logos and Symbols
Logos and symbols can be defined as the printed figure / design or character or painted design or figures that indicate the company’s name, service or product’s name. They do not contain any letters, words or numerals. For word marks that also make use of a logo the trademark needs to be registered both as a word mark as well as a device mark. In India, the registration for both can be made in a single trademark application. The symbol for Apple is a good example of logos and symbols trademark.
- Collective Mark
The collective trademark is linked with a group of people and not a specific product or service. These trademarks are usually owned by an organisation, institute or any associations. They can be utilised by members of the organisation to represent them as a part of the whole.
For example, a chartered accountant is entitled to the abbreviation, CA as they are a registered member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants which has trademarked the identity.
- Series Mark
Series marks are trademarks which have a common syllable, prefix or suffix denoting the family of marks sharing a common name. For example, the prefix ‘Mc’ is trademarked by McDonald’s and used on most of its products.
- Geographical Indicators
Geographical indicators are used on products to represent the unique nature, reputation, and quality the products possess based on their geographic place of origin. These indicators are awarded by the GI Registry to natural, agricultural, manufactured and handicraft products that come from a specific geographical origin. Darjeeling Tea is a GI under the Intellectual Property Rights.
- Certification Mark
The certification mark is proof that the company has met certain quality standards in order to earn the certification and differentiate it from the other products or services of its kind. They’re usually awarded by a certifying body after the product has been tested to meet predetermined standards. For example, the FSSAI certification is awarded to packaged food products.
Trademark registration is an important step towards a successful business as it eliminates any chance of misappropriation of your products or services by rival brands. In India, the trademark registration is controlled and managed by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, (Office of the Registrar of Trademarks), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Government of India.
Trademarks can be owned by any individual, LLP, or organisation. The trademark remains valid for a period of ten years from the date of registration, following which it needs to be renewed for further utilisation.