Business is based on trademarks, and trademarks are an indispensable business asset, from brand names and logos to product names and slogans. Having legal rights over one’s brands through trademark registration is crucial to protecting one’s business identity.
Can you register a trademark on your own?
In India, trademark law is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999 (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) and the Trade Marks Rules, 2017. Trademark registration can be applied for by anyone who claims to be the proprietor of a trademark with respect to goods and /or services according to Section 18(1) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. This term refers not only to natural people, but also bodies incorporated, partnerships, HUFs, trusts, societies, government authorities and undertakings, associations of people, and joint proprietorships. An individual can register his trademark himself. The application can be submitted online via the e-filing gateway on the official website, or by hand to the Indian Trademark Office (TMO). A trademark application does not equate with trademark registration, and it is important to understand that a trademark application is just one step of the trademark registration process.
The steps involved in registering a trademark
First and foremost, it is necessary to choose a trademark for registration. Although this may seem like an easy task, it requires considerable effort since the mark selected must comply with the provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and not violate Sections 9 and 11 of the Act, respectively, which give rise to absolute and relative refusal grounds. If a similar trademark is already registered or used in furtherance of the same, a trademark search should be conducted. It is also important to identify and select the relevant classes under which the mark needs to be registered before applying. If the application does not comply with the applicable filing rules, then the Registrar will notify the applicant of deficiencies in the application and provide a one-month period for correction. The application may be abandoned if the deficiencies cannot be corrected within that time frame. After filing, the trademark office examines the application and responds within a month to objections raised on a variety of grounds. A period of four months is provided for third parties to object to the application through an advertisement in the Trademark Journal.
Trademark registration hurdles
When you apply for trademark, There are two types of refusals to a trademark application: absolute and relative refusals. Therefore, when selecting a trademark, the trademark search must be performed thoroughly, making sure that all relevant rules of registration are taken into account.
A trademark registration can be challenged if the class for goods or services of the trademark is incorrectly selected.
Trademark Office Objections: When the Trademark Office raises procedural or substantive objections, an appropriate response must be provided. In order to avoid application abandonment, timely action is required when filing replies to objections proceedings, which can often last up to 18 months.
When an application for trademark registration is opposed, the applicant is required to file a counterstatement, evidence in support of the application, and attend the hearing before the Registrar to defend the application. For the registration application to be successfully defended, it is necessary to be familiar with both procedural and substantive law.
In spite of the straightforward appearance of trademark registration applications, a variety of pitfalls can occur, ultimately leading to rejection or abandonment of the application. An experienced trademark professional can handle these complexities effectively, ensuring that a trademark registration application is successful by taking timely action and smoothly navigating the registration process. In spite of the fact that it is not legally forbidden for an individual to register his/her own trademark, it is more practical to hire an IP professional to do so.