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. This can be a word or a combination of words, a short phrase or a sentence, or a distinctive picture or symbol, and provide a distinctive identity in the marketplace. After a trade mark has been registered, nobody else can use this trade mark or one that is confusingly similar. If this happens, legal actions can be sought. Trade Mark is a prerequisite to Brand Building, and this journey from Trade Mark to Brand and Brand Equity is long, arduous and requires proper strategy and blending of resources. A trade mark not appropriately protected may give rise to legal conflicts and may also restrict a corporation from using a 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, via 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 applications as per:
(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 the mark 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 shall prepare and file a response in 30 days. If the Registrar is still of the view that the mark does not meet the required criteria for registration , the Trade Mark Registry shall fix a date for personal hearing. The Applicant then essentially has to represent his case before the Registrar and satisfy the Registrar pertaining to the acceptability of the proposed mark for registration. If the registrar then decides in favour of the applicant, the application shall be published for opposition of third parties in the Official Trade Mark Journal. Application shall be subsequently registered within 2-3 months after the period of filing notice of opposition in case 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 shall release a notice of such opposition to the Applicant, on who's receipt, the Applicant shall submit a counter statement of the grounds in support of his application. The registrar shall then invite both the parties for a hearing prior to announcing his decision.
As per Section 25 of the Trade Mart Act, 1999, 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 shall be filed within six months before the expiration of the last registration of the Trade Mark. If the application for renewal shall be filed after receiving notice from the Registrar. Subject to the discretion of the Registrar, the mark may be renewed within one year from the expiration of last registration.