A Trade Mark is a brand name, a slogan or a logo. It identifies the services or goods of one person and distinguishes it from those of another. A brand name can be a word or a combination of words. A slogan is a short phrase or a sentence and a logo is a distinctive picture or symbol. They provide a distinctive identity in the market place. When a trade mark has been registered, nobody else can use this trade mark or one that is confusingly similar. If this happens, legal actions may result. Trade Mark is a prerequisite to Brand Building and the journey from Trade Mark to Brand and Brand Equity is tedious and needs proper blending of resources, mere advertisement does not help. A trade mark not appropriately protected may give rise to legal conflicts and may also restrict a corporate from using the respective mark that signifies its very existence. Khurana & Khurana has quality expertise and knowledge in the field of trade marks. K&K has been advising multiple corporates on their Trade Mark development strategy and has helped them register and enforce Trade Marks worldwide through its strong network alliances.
In India, the usual time taken by the Trade Marks Registry from filing to registration is between 18-24 months for a straight forward application. The Indian Trade Mark Office examines all applications with respect to the:
(a) filing requirements
(b) absolute grounds for refusal or
(c) relative grounds over the earlier identical or confusingly similar Trade Mark applications/registrations for the goods or services concerned within 10-12 months. If it is found to be registrable, the examiner will accept the same and forward it for advertisement in the Journal. In case of any objections, the Examiner issues an Examination report and the applicant has to prepare and file a response in 30 days. If the Registrar’s decision is again against the registration of the mark, the Trade Mark Registry fixes a date of personal hearing. The Applicant is then required to represent his case before the Registrar and satisfy the Registrar regarding acceptability of the proposed mark for registration. In the affirmative, it will be published for the opposition of third parties for 4 months in Official Trade Mark Journal. Application will be registered within 2-3 months after expiry of period of filing notice of opposition, provided that no opposition is received.
Any interested party may oppose a Trade Mark application during the four months period of its publication. In case there is an opposition to the proposed mark, the Registrar gives notice of such opposition to the Applicant. On receipt of such notice, the Applicant is required to submit to the registrar, a counter statement of the grounds in support of his application. The registrar will call both the parties for hearing and listen to their arguments before announcing his decision.
Registration of a Trade Mark under Indian Trade Marks Act 1999 is valid for a period of ten years but can be renewed from time to time. An application for renewal can be filed not more than six months before the expiration of the last registration of the Trade Mark. If the application for renewal is not filed after receiving notice from the Registrar on this behalf, the mark may be removed from the Register. Subject to the discretion of the Registrar, the mark may be renewed within one year from the expiration of last registration.