WHAT IS TRADEMARK REGISTRATION, HOW DOES THIS HELPS SMALL BUSINESS
What is a trademark?
A trademark is the brand name or a logo that is representative of your business.
The logo or symbol is a combination or separately the word signature, the name, number, or any graphic that is used by the owner of the trademark for the goods and services provided or produces by their business. It helps a business to distinguish from other businesses. A parent company has a different trademark for its different products. We have different variety of chips snacks brands and all of them though just slightly different from one other have a different trademark that helps us distinctly identify the source and origin of the snacks as well as the company that manufactures them.
The Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry by the Government of India is the responsible body that registers trademarks in India. Trademarks for different companies are registered under the Trademark Act, 1999 that gives the right to the trademark owner to sue the other proprietor for damages who infringes the trademark that is patented on their name. It is also the provision that no trademark that looks uncannily similar to an existing trademark or one that is already in the application queue for registration can be registered. The trademarks which may create a false image and cause deception or confusion or likely to be offensive to people are very unlikely to be registered.
Who are eligible to apply for a trademark?
Any individual, a group of people, a sole proprietor, a company or any legal entity that is looking to be an owner of a graphic, design, or logo or similar can apply for a trademark. The ‘ TM ’ symbol can be used after an application for the trademark is filled which takes a time of a few days. To get the approval for the trademark and registration done, including all the formalities take anything from 8 to 12 months if there is no opposition and other problems in the application. Once you have your trademark registered and you get the registration certificate, you can use the ® symbol with your trademark to prove its legality. The registration of your trademark is valid only for 10 years and it has to be renewed every 10 years.
What qualifies as a trademark
There is a huge variety of trademarks that can be registered. It can be a person’s name be it personal or the surname of the applicant or any choice of word or a signature of the person. It can be a word be it from a dictionary or invented that does not directly describe the quality or character of the goods or services provided can be used as a trademark. It can be any symbol, alphabet, number, or alphanumeric. The applicant can also use the symbol, monogram, 3D shapes too. You cannot use any symbol that looks like a symbol of government establishment, Vulgar or disparaging words or phrases, Generic terms and phrases, Immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words or symbols or name of any higher authority without their consent.
Steps to get the trademark registered
There is a procedure that you must follow for getting a trademark registered for your business. It requires certain paperwork and documentation that you should make a list of, to avoid any hassle at the last moment. The documentation that is required includes a copy of the trademark, applicant’s detail and identity proof certificates, detail of the company, details of good and services that are to be registered if there you have used the trademark earlier to registration, when was it first used and the power of attorney certificates that are to be signed by the applicant. Once you have these documentations ready, you have to follow the steps ahead.
You have to do a trademark search to check whether the name or logo that you are applying to get registered is not already in the name of another person. It is done by official via online and offline mode to avoid any casualty. Once you are through with this process and do not find any likeness in the material you are good to move to the next step which is to create a trademark application. Based on the search which was done in the previous step, the trademark attorney will draft an application for you only after doing a thorough search of the paperwork and making sure that your business name/logo is unique and does not match any other applicant’s trademark. Once this application is successfully accepted by the office, you are allowed to use ‘TM’ with your trademark until the trademark is registered successfully. Once you are through with this, only the last step is left which is the actual registration. You have to pay the fees which are 4500Rs for individual/start-up or small enterprises and double which is 9000Rs for other businesses. There is a different fee for a trademark attorney professional which is 3500Rs per application. If there is no objection in the application, your trademark is advertised in the Trade Marks Journal. If there is no opposition or objection by any business or person in the next 4 months, your trademark is registered in around 6-8 months.
How trademarks can help small businesses.
With the details above we are assured that the trademark is very important to any business as it gives it an identity and is the face of the brand after from other advertisement techniques. With the growth of startups and small businesses in our country, it is required for them too to take trademark registration seriously and not just think of it as a thing for big businesses. Once you create a trademark for your business, it works as an official entry for you and people will take your business more seriously. It helps the small businesses to create a rapport that will help them grow in the future to turn into a bigger business with the help of the public and increase in demand but also by keeping the quality intact which the trademark is a representative of.
The function of the trademark is that it ensures that consumers can distinguish between different brands and types of products. It enables a company a make a distinct identity of their brand and their products. As the brand grows, it is the trademark that gets imprinted in people’s heads and works as a marketing tool and works as a base to grow and build brand image and reputation even further. For any small business, to mark its presence in business and making it recognizable to the public, it needs a trademark to make them understand the source of the good product that is introduced in the market is yours. There are many brands that gain revenue through royalties as their brand which is famous is used by others for their building base under the right legal circumstances. It ensures that a trusting relationship is built between the consumers and the company as it is the face of the company and the quality of the product is associated with it. The trademark works like a PR for your brand. It is a public that puts your company out in public which is very important for small businesses be it a furniture manufacturer or the accessory manufacturer or a travel agency, it is useful for all.
We all know that people invest all they have to start their business and make it reach a certain level and be liked by the consumers. Just by spending a little extra and being patient with the paperwork, and getting the trademark registration will give more authenticity to your business and will make it unlikely for people to infringe your product or defame it.