What are the various stages involved in the registration of an Indian Trademark?
The Trademarks Law in India is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999. The Act provides for registration of any mark which is capable of being represented graphically as a word, device, label, numerals or combination of colors and capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from another. In other words, a trademark is a source identifier.
An Indian trademark application goes through the following stages, till registration:
- Search (optional)
A trademark search for identical or similar marks may be conducted online and on the official website of the Trademarks Registry to determine if the mark is available.
If it is determined that no similar Trademark has been identified, a trademark application is filed for the specification of goods/services for which it is being used or is proposed to be used.
- Examination Report
The trademark application is examined by the Trade Marks Office in about two to four (2-4) months’ time from the filing date and objections, if any, are raised. These objections can either be raised on:
- Absolute Grounds (distinctiveness, devoid of distinctive character, not capable of distinguishing goods or services etc.) and/or
- Relative Grounds (similarity with earlier trademark already existing on the Trade Marks Register).
If no objections are raised, the mark shall directly be allowed to be advertised. (Stage 5)
- Response to Examination Report
If an examination report is issued, a response must be filed within one (1) month from the receipt of the examination report failing which the application is ‘deemed to have been abandoned’ by the Applicant. If the Trade Marks Office is convinced with the response filed, the application is advertised in the Trademarks Journal. Alternatively, in case the Examiner has further objections, a show cause hearing would be offered to the Applicant.
After examination, if the Examiner is satisfied with the response filed to the objection/s, the trade mark application is advertised in the Trademarks Journal. The Trade Marks Journal is hosted weekly on the official website.
Once advertised, the trademark is open for opposition purposes for a period of four (4) months. Incase no opposition is filed within this stipulated time period, the mark proceeds to registration.
- Registration & Renewal
The application shall proceed to registration if the trademark application is not opposed within 4 months from the date of advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal. The Trade Mark Registry will then issue a soft copy of the Registration certificate. The mark is registered for a period of 10 years from the date of filing of the application and can be renewed from time to time on payment of renewal fees. Each renewal term is for a period of 10 years