A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise/ company/ industry/ cooperate from those of other enterprises.
Trademark protection can be obtained through registration, by filing an application for registration with the national/regional trademark office and paying the required fees.
What is the function of a trademark?
Under modern business condition a trademark performs four functions
• It identifies the goods / or services and its origin.
• It guarantees its unchanged quality
• It advertises the goods/services
• It creates an image for the goods/ services.
• It ensures that consumers can distinguish between products;
• It enables companies to differentiate their products;
• It is a marketing tool and the basis for building a brand image and reputation;
• It is licensed and provide a direct source of revenue through royalties;
• It is a crucial component of franchising agreements;
• It is a valuable business asset;
• It encourages companies to invest in maintaining or improving product quality;
• It may be useful for obtaining financing.
Criteria of a registrable trademark:
The registration of a trademark, there has:
• first to be a sign and
• second it (sign) must be distinctive.
A sign can be:
This category includes company names, surnames, forenames, geographical names and any other words or sets of words, whether invented or not, and slogans.
(ii) Letters and numerals
Examples are one or more letters, one or more numerals or any combination thereof.
This category includes fancy devices, drawings and symbols and also two-dimensional representations of goods or containers.
(iv) Combinations of any of those listed under (i), (ii) and (iii), including logotypes and labels.
(v) Colored marks
This category includes words, devices and any combinations thereof in color, as well as color combinations and color as such.
(vi) Three-dimensional signs
A typical category of three-dimensional signs is the shape of the goods or their packaging. However, other three-dimensional signs such as the three-pointed Mercedes star can serve as a trademark.
(vii) Audible signs (sound marks)
Two typical categories of sound marks can be distinguished, namely those that can be transcribed in musical notes or other symbols and others (e.g. the cry of an animal).
(viii) Olfactory marks (smell marks)
Imagine that a company sells its goods (e.g. wntmg paper) with a certain fragrance and the consumer becomes accustomed to recognizing the goods by their smell.
(ix) Other (invisible) signs
Examples of these are signs recognized by touch.
Need of Trademark
In order to fulfill their distinguishing function for consumers who wish to make their choice between different goods of the same kind on the market, trademarks must be legally protected. Otherwise, competitors could use identical signs for the same or similar goods or signs so similar that the consumer would be confused as to the origin of the goods.
Trademark search is being done using simple search or advance search. Following are the search engines for a trademark search.
1) Indian Trademark Registry database
2) Global Brand Database – WIPO
For filing new applications there are prescribed forms depending on the nature of application
• Form TM-1, TM-2, TM-3, TM-8, TM-51 etc.
• Form TM-12 for Renewal of a Regd. Trademark
• Form TM-13 for restoration of removed mark
To file a Notice of Opposition to oppose an application published in the Trademarks Journal (FormTM-5).