Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What are TRADEMARKS?
Trademarks & Servicemarks are source identifiers of a particular Brand. Their purpose would be to inform the consuming public about the origin of the particular goods & services on which they are seen.
A Trademark could therefore be a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs as used in the course of trade, which identifies and distinguishes the source of goods of one enterprise from those of the others. Trademarks are further categorised as either Word Marks or Logo Marks.
A Servicemark is the same as a trademark except, it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. Normally, a trademark for goods appears on the products or on its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services or on products indicating that service.
Most countries follow the same classification system, namely the International Classification of Goods and Services (also known as the NICE classification), which consists of 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services.
2. Who can apply for registration of TRADEMARKS?
Following can file for registration of trademarks as Applicants:
- True Owner of the trademark
- Natural persons individually or jointly
- Legal entities such as proprietorship concerns, partnership firms, companies and corporations
3. Why protect TRADEMARKS?
Trademarks are the face of any business. Trademarks propagate the underlying ideas, ideals and values of the business. They play a crucial role in Brand portrayal, gaining Trust for their patrons and leaving a lasting impression on the minds of clients and customers. To this end, Trademarks are invaluable assets gaining commercial value and enhancing business prospects manifold. Trademarks are the vehicles carrying and displaying Originality and Creativity of a brand. It would not be far fetched to say that Trademarks are a stamp of originality and continued value for both the owners as well as consumers.
4. Can one obtain automatic protection for TRADEMARKS world over?
No, Trademarks cannot obtain automatic protection.
Trademarks are protected by way of individual filings at the national offices of countries of choice OR
Trademarks are protected by way of treaties wherein countries come together and sign a pact for simultaneous protection in member countries.
Kindly refer our treaties section for further information.
Our Attorneys will help you in guiding and filing international trademark applications both at national level and through treaties.
5. What signs are registrable as TRADEMARKS:
Following signs are registrable as Trademarks:
- Non-Descriptive and Non-Laudatory
- Non - generic
- Not Similar or Identical to Prior Trademarks
- Not causing Confusion or Misleading the public
- Not Offensive and Violating Morality along with the Law of the Land
- Not inclusive of Official Insignia such as Emblems, Flags, Portraits, Olympic Symbol and Seals
6. Choosing the right class(s) for wider and better protection:
Trademarks are classified and categorised as classes relating to goods and services. Before filing an application for registration of trademarks, one should ensure the right class by choosing from the NICE CLASSIFICATION followed by most countries.
Our Attorneys are at hand to help you choose the right class for your goods and services.
7. What are Certification Marks & Collective Marks:
Certification Trademarks, as the word indicates, refers to those marks that are distinguishable from ordinary marks, by way of being certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics from goods or services not so certified.
Collective Trademarks, again as the word indicates, refers to trade marks distinguishing the goods or services of members of an association of persons which is the proprietor of the mark from those of others.
8. What are Geographical Indications ?
A Geographical Indication signifies origins of products unique to specific locations. Geographical Indications are a stamp of authenticity bearing the unique and distinctive characteristics of these products owing to such locations such as aroma, flavour, texture etc., and are made according to traditional methods. Geographical Indications also enjoy a definite and assured reputation due to the Geographical Origin.
GIs are applicable to Wines and Spirits, Food, Textiles etc.
Kindly refer our section on Geographical Indications for further information. Our Attorneys are at hand to help you in filing and prosecuting your applications on Geographical Indications.
9. What is the Role and Significance of Convention Applications in claiming Priority?
Convention - Convention here refers to a comity of nations signatory to international treaties such as Paris convention, TRIPS agreement etc.
Priority - Applicants having filed trademark applications in any one of the convention countries can claim priority in the other convention countries within 6 months of the filing date , which essentially means obtaining a seniority over subsequent applications filed by other applicants during this 6 months by retaining the original date of filing as in the convention country.
Priority Document - Submission of priority document along with the application is essential to claim priority. However, applicant should ensure that the priority document is submitted within the prescribed time as stipulated by the relevant convention country.
10. What is the importance of conducting SEARCH prior to filing a Trademark Application?
Trademarks have assumed a global presence in modern times owing to the internet and social networking sites. Trademark Applicants should therefore be careful to ensure that their chosen Trade Names are not similar and / or identical to trademarks and trade names of goods and services in the same class. This caution is to be specially exercised when dealing with Popular and Well-known trademarks across the globe as most countries provide protection to popular and well-known trademarks even though they are not registered with those countries.
Applicants should therefore carry out search on popular websites, social media, trade magazines, brochures, and advertisements in print & electronic media. Alongside, Applicants should also conduct search at the respective Patent and Trademark Offices to rule out conflict with prior marks.
Our Attorneys are at hand to help you in conducting appropriate and diligent searches prior to filing of the trademark applications.
11. Do we need to protect Domain Names along with Trademarks?
Yes, it is always advisable to protect domain names parallel to trademarks. This ensures better protection and brand valuation in the long run.
Kindly refer our section on Domain Names for further information.
12. Should Applicants use Trademarks before filing of the Trademark Application:
Trademarks registration always gives better and wider protection along with better enforcement and significant legal rights and remedies to the trademark owner since many countries apply ‘first to file’ rule.
However, prior usage of the trademark before filing an application for registration also carries some weightage in establishing distinctiveness of the mark in comparison to rival marks.