Do startups need to worry about trademarks? copyrights?
Well, while building the brand must be on top of your ToDo list, it’s also very important to preserve the same.
Here is an interview with M. Pavan, Founder of WhiteMoney, a company that specializes in admin, accounts and legal solutions.
Also, Pavan will write a weekly post @ pluGGd.in, and he will discuss the legal, copyrights, trademarks issues that startups should really know about. If you have any sort of questions related to starting up, please leave them in comments section (or email me).
Please tell us about White Money.
I come from a family of Construction & Resorts Business and have been working with them for quite sometime now. During my tenure in this Public Ltd Co I realized that lot of time was drained in keeping your back office running smoothly.
I always felt if there was one company that could take care of all the accounts, deductions, filing, and all other govt compliances, the Director can then concentrate on something more important like taking your company to the next level, and that’s how White Money came into existence.
White Money operates in following areas :
- Our Primary business is to take care of Back Office Operations. For any given firm we take care of their Accounts, Audits, HR Management and Company Secretarial works on a monthly contract basis
- We provide business Set up Services; where in we help people to take the first step towards entrepreneurship, we help them to incorporate Pvt Ltd Co, & Ltd Co,
- We do Govt. Compliances, we make sure you have all the required certificates and registrations required to run your firm smoothly
- We do Indian and International IPR
We chose the name White Money, because we strongly believe that for a business to grow and expand to its optimum level, it has to be transparent and run systematically.
White Money was started by me along with my associates, I now have a strong team of Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Advocates, Tax Planners, HR Management specialist and Investment Planners working both full time and part time with us.
In layman’s terms – please explain what does one mean by Trademark?
A Trademark is a visual symbol in the form of a word, a name, a device, a symbol, or a label which identifies a merchant’s or manufacturer’s goods or services, and distinguishes them from others.
In general, startups aren’t worried about trademark issues – how important do you think are these issues for startups?
It is very important, in fact most important. There are two reasons :-
- First : Before you make a large investment in a name, you want to know whether it is secure. You would not like to promote a name that is confusingly similar to another company’s trademark and subjects you to the risk of a lawsuit for trademark infringement
- Second : When you have a start up, you market your venture by various means and device. People and general public are well aware of your firm’s name, trademarks, logo, and associate these elements purely with your firm. If these are not protected other firms are free to use them to advance their agenda, usually leading to great losses for your business and adversely affecting your firm.
What trademarks cannot be registered?
Trademark which is identical to or deceptively similar to a trademark which is already registered
- Trademark the use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion
- Which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter
- Any matter likely to hurt the religions susceptibilities
- Matter which is merely the generic name
How do I find out whether a mark is already registered?
In order to determine whether any person or company is using a particular trademark, a trademark search can be conducted. , it is advisable to get the official search report from the registered and pending application records before filing the application
If possible, please share some information about your clients.
We have done lot of Trademarks for various companies operating in diversified fields, some of the trademarks we have done for this month are:-
NSOFT Software Programming
EDUJINI Corporate Training
TV HOUSE Television & Video Production Services
VERBATTLE Sports, Education and Entertainment Events
Please share some of the copyright issues/violation have you seen in corporate India.
To get a Trademark for the above mentioned words would not be possible since they are merely generic name, so here what we see is they have clubbed the word Mobile & Stores, making it a new word and then have applied for Trademark
If tomorrow any event management firm ( Class 41) decides to apply a trademark for a Beer Tasting Camp called “Bar Camp Bangalore” , there are high chances that over a period of time, he may have it registered and give us a run for our money
One of our client blindly picked up a logo from internet and started to use here in India, after an year when he expanded to US Markets, he got a notice from the US company asking for a Million Dollar Compensation because he had used the exact identical mark. We had to go through a series of corrective steps and change the company’s name in US.
4. Pharma Case
AMOXIL (Appellants) – LYMOXYL ( Respondents)
The appellant was using the mark ‘AMOXIL’ ,this mark was registered in India in 1972 in Class 5 in respect of Pharmaceutical goods. The respondent started using the mark ‘LYMOXYL’ in India from 1985. The respondent filed the application for registration of the mark in 1987 in India in the same class with respect to similar goods.
The appellant brought an action against the respondent stating that the mark is deceptively similar. The rival marks are phonetically and deceptively similar and the goods are pharmaceutical goods
The Appellate Board delivered a judgment prohibiting registration of the Trade Mark ‘LYMOXYL’.
5. NOKIA’s Case
For a startup which is still in initial state, how do they go ahead with preserving their trademarks?
I suggest they get a name search done and if found positive they should immediately register it under proposed to be used mark. It does not cost much and we all now know its importance
What is the process for the same?
It’s not very confusing:-
- You define a Class(es) : Govt has categorised business & service in 42 Classes
- Get a Name Search Done : Find out if the name is still virgin in that class
- Information of the Firm : Directors / Address / Class Defination
- Give an authorization : Form 48; Power given to White Money to represent you
- Apply in IPR Office : Delhi / Mumbai / Kolkatta / Chennai
- Once your Application is processed you get a TM Allotment No.
- Here onwards you can use the Sign TM along with you name or logo
- The Govt would call for objections if any, if there is any objections raised, you need to counter file your argument and fight the case out
- If there are no objections then the Trade Mark is registered in about 18 months
- Once its registered you get the R sign – meaning registered
How much does the entire process cost?
As our name suggests we believe in transparent business, we charge the same for a Big Corporate or a Start Up. We charge Rs. 10,000/- for the complete package right from the beginning till it gets registered. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The IPR department is headed by our Advocate Mr. Ashok Kumar Daga, he has been in this field from past 18 years and has successfully done many registrations for various companies including Nakeran Magzines, M/s Zip Industies, M/s Ayyan Fire Works, M/s Jain Farms & Resorts Ltd., M/s Pai Electronics, All India Jaycees and more
Are copyrights valid across states?
Yes, through out India.
A small advice to the startups, please don’t use Tm for your name or logo without getting a Tm Allotment Number. Its Illegal