Well, before discussing trademark in India lets see what trademark is. The trademark generally refers to the brand or logo. It is a unique expression related to a product or service that differentiates it from others. Trademark registration can be done for a business name, unique catch phrases, taglines or captions, a combination of colors and different letters, even smell. Trademark gives a company/business separate identity. If they are properly used and promoted, a Trademark can become one of the most valuable assets. Trademarks indicate the origin as well as the quality of the goods. Some popular trademarks include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Canon, Dell, etc.
Why Register Brand Name or Trademark?
So, if you have a business or planning to have a business, then you may have many questions about trademark registration in India. First of all, you might think that is it a really necessary step to have registration of the trademark in India for business. Well, what if:
- Someone else is misusing your business name
- You find out later that the name of your business is actually registered with some other company
These can create a huge loss for you in terms of money, hard work, and time. So you need to seriously consider protecting your business identity, name, brand, logo etc. You can protect it only if you register your trademark for business. Any person can apply who claim to be the owner of the trademark. A person can be proprietor, individual, company or legal entity. The application for trademark files within a few days and you can start using “TM” ( for goods) or “SM” (for services) symbol. Once your trademark is registered and registration certificate is issued, you can use the ® (Registered symbol) next to your trademark.
What Can Be Register As The Trademark in India?
Well, the trademark in India is broadly divided into four categories i.e.
- arbitrary or random
Let’s see more details about these terms.
Descriptive trademarks are one which describes the goods or services they are marketing. companies may choose this type of trademark. It is often the easiest to market. Although it is a weak mark as there are marketing benefits to using a mark that describes the product. Examples can be “Vision Center” describes that they are offering optical goods and services. But USPTO says that a descriptive trademark is not initially entitled to registration because it reveals other competitive products and services too. They become registerable by showing that consumers identify that descriptive term with only one company.
Suggestive trademarks are the one in which indirectly refers to the goods and services. It does not describe the product but suggests it. it requires a consumer to use imagination to connect the two terms. for example, Microsoft ( microcomputer software), Jaguar for automobiles etc. Microsoft relates to the computer or technology, but its name itself with imagination have an association. Similarly, Jaguar represents the speed of the product but used for transportation.
3. Fanciful Trademark
Fanciful trademarks are generally known as “coined” trademarks. These terms have no meaning before their use as a trademark. Fanciful trademarks are made-up terms only made for one purpose i.e. functioning as a trademark. They can be either neologisms i.e. words which have no meaning in English language or archaic words come out of common usage. Some examples are Kotak, Pepsi, Xerox, Oreo etc.
4. Arbitrary Trademark
Arbitrary trademarks are those which have meaning in real but are not associated with the product or service. For example, Apple is a fruit but used by the technology or computer sector. If Apple is used by the fruit grower then it can be descriptive. But Apple as the computer sector is arbitrary. Another example can be taken as Nickelodeon. It means that an early movie theater charging an admission price of five cents but it is the channel of children. So it is arbitrary.
5. Generic Trademark
Generic is the common terms generally used to name any product or service. Since they describe the product so no one can make it as a trademark. These terms do not qualify any protection as everyone has right to use the name of product or service they are selling
Bonus- Strength Of The Trademarks
- Fanciful Trademark:- Strongest type of trademark due to its absolute distinctiveness
- Arbitrary Trademark:- They are also strong as these are real words but are usually connecting to the different class of product
- Suggestive Trademark:- Comparatively stronger than the descriptive trademarks. These are names that suggest the quality of product or service.
- Descriptive Trademark:- They are weaker trademarks. The company cannot register them unless these have any secondary meaning.
- Generic Trademark:- They are the weakest trademarks. Since they describe the product so no one can make it as a trademark.