Investing your time and money to build a particular brand and seeing the same brand name being used by another, robbing you of your hard earned brand reputation is not an agreeable state of affairs. Many a time, trademark owners end up in protracted litigation because when the time was right, they did not protect their brand name. Protection of brand name is not a difficult task. A few simple steps, as explained below and you would have the much-needed legal protection to your brand name.
Step 1: Trademark Search
Many entrepreneurs do not comprehend the importance of a trademark search. Having a unique brand name in mind is not good enough reason to avoid a trademark search. Trademark search helps you to know if there are similar trademarks available and it gives you a fair picture of where your trademark stands- sometimes, it also gives you a forewarning of the possibility of trademark litigation. Why waste your money in time-consuming trademark litigation later when you can choose to avoid it in the first place?
Step 2: Filing Trademark Application
After you are sure that your chosen brand name is not listed in the Trademark Registry, you can opt for registering the same. The first step is to file a trademark application at the Registry. Now-a-days, filing is mostly done online. Once the application is filed, an official receipt is immediately issued for future reference.
Step 3: Examination
After a trademark application is filed, it is examined by the Examiner for any discrepancies. The examination might take around 12-18months. The Examiner might accept the trademark absolutely, conditionally or object.
If accepted unconditionally, the Trademark gets published in the Trademark Journal. If not accepted unconditionally, the conditions to be fulfilled or the objections would be mentioned in the Report and a month’s time would be given to fulfill the conditions or response to the objections.
Once such Response is accepted, the Trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. If the Response is not accepted, one can request for a hearing. If in the hearing, the Examiner feels that the trademark should be allowed registration, it proceeds for publication in the Trademark Journal.
Step 4: Publication
The step of publication is incorporated in the Trademark procedure so that anyone who objects to the registering of the trademark has the opportunity to oppose the same. If, after 3months from publication there is no opposition, the trademark proceeds for registration. Incase there is opposition; there is a fair hearing and decision is given by the Registrar.
Step 5: Registration Certificate
Once the trademark proceeds for registration, following publication, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Office is handed over to the Trademark owner.
Step 6: Renewal
The trademark can be renewed perpetually after every 10 years. Hence, your brand name can be protected perpetually.
As seen from the above, trademark procedure does not require much effort. It is a simple procedure but one which is nonetheless very important in order to protect your brand name. There are various IP firms that can help you with the entire process of registration without you worrying about deadlines and responses. Hence, understand the power of your brand name and take steps in protecting it today.
[Guest article contributed by Priyanka Gogoi, Trademark Attorney at Intepat IP Services Pvt Ltd, [http://www.intepat.com], Bangalore.]
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