Trademark Registration: Types and Classes

  • Seema Dhaka
  • 06-04-2024

Overview

   trademark-registration-types-and-classes-1713872854
  • Seema Dhaka
  • 06-04-2024

Trademark Registration

A trademark is a symbol or sign, like a logo, number, or colour scheme, that distinguishes your products or services. It's a powerful tool that can protect your brand's identity and prevent others from using similar marks, which could lead to customer confusion. You can secure this protection by registering a trademark under the Trademarks Act of 1999.
In this blog post, we will delve into the fundamentals of trademarks, explicitly focusing on registering a brand and the various types and categories involved.

Trademark Registration Process

According to the Trade Marks Act of 1999, once it is determined that a name qualifies for registration in India, an application is submitted to the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks (CGPDTM). The registrar issues the trademark registration certificate if the application meets approval criteria without any objections raised within typically four months. 

Steps to Register a Trademark

  1. Conduct a Trademark Search: Check if the trademark is available and not already in use.
  2. Fill Out the Application: Provide all necessary information and details about your trademark.
  3. Submit the Application: Pay the registration fees and submit the application to the appropriate authority.
  4. Monitor the Application Process: Keep track of the status of your application and respond to any objections or requests for clarification

After submitting a trademark application, it receives protection for ten years starting from the application date, with the option to extend this protection for a decade.

Types of Trademarks

Types of Trademarks

  1. Word trademarks: These are more than just words. They're powerful tools that can instantly evoke your brand's image in the minds of consumers. They include words with capitalization characters, phrases, or combinations of letters and numbers that resemble slogans, brand names, or product names.
  2. Design trademarks: Logos, symbols, and other visual components that represent the brand are examples of design marks.
  3. Combination trademarks: Provide an all-encompassing representation of a brand by combining visual and verbal elements.
  4. Sound trademarks: The Sound marks consist of a variety of distinctive sounds, including songs, jingles, or music linked to specific products or services (e.g., the Intel jingle or MGM Lion's Roar).
  5. Colour trademarks: If a brand's use of a specific colour makes it stand out, it may be eligible for trademark protection.
  6. Motion trademarks: Motion marks are animated graphics or motions that energise a brand's representation and make it more exciting. 

Trademark Classes

Trademark classes, also called the Nice Classification System, group goods and services into categories for trademark registration purposes. This classification scheme aids in organising trademarks according to the types of goods and services they represent, facilitating the identification of conflicts, and ensuring clarity during the registration process. There are 45 trademark classes, with Class 1 to 34 encompassing goods and Class 35 to 45 encompassing services. For example, Class 25 focuses on clothing, footwear, and headgear, while Class 42 encompasses technological services. Selecting the trademark class is vital, as it outlines the extent of protection for the trademark.

Govt fees for trademark registration in India

In India, the government fees for trademark registration vary depending on the type of applicant (individual, startup, small enterprise, or others) and the number of classes of goods or services for which the trademark is registered. The government fees for filing a trademark application range from INR 4500 for individuals and startups to INR 9000 for others, per class of goods or services.
In addition to the government fees, there may be additional costs involved in the trademark registration process, such as professional fees for trademark search, drafting the application, and responding to objections raised by the Trademark Office. It is important for companies to budget for these additional expenses in order to complete the registration process smoothly and efficiently.
While the government fees for trademark registration in India may seem like an added cost for businesses, it is a necessary investment to protect their brand identity and intellectual property. By securing a registered trademark, companies can build credibility, foster innovation, and open up new opportunities for growth and expansion in the competitive marketplace. Ultimately, the benefits of trademark registration far outweigh the initial costs, making it a valuable asset for companies looking to succeed in the business world.

Benefits of Trademark Registration

Trademarks Classification

  1. Legal Protection: Registering a trademark under a suitable class gives you legal protection in that business or market segment. It prevents other people from using similar marks, which could cause confusion for customers. Once registered, a logo gains intellectual property protection against theft. Registering a trademark gives you the exclusive right to use that name for the "class" of goods or services it stands for. Using the symbol "TM" on your goods is possible after you have filed for a trademark. You cannot use the "R" symbol until you have registered your name. Additionally, only the products and services listed on the registration certificate are eligible to use the ® symbol. Infringement can be filed in the proper courts in the country if a registered name is used without permission.
  2. Trademark recognition: Registering a trademark in India is valid for 10 years from the date you file your application. However, you have the option to extend the trademark. If you want to use your brand or expand your business outside of India, you must obtain permission or register your trademark in those countries. If this is the case, your brand registration and business in India can help you get registrations in other countries.
  3. Business expansion: A trademark creates an association between the enterprise's products and clientele. By offering distinctive or effective products, one can establish a clientele. Your trademark helps you expand and retain your customer base. A trademark registration protects an enterprise's revenue by granting exclusive usage rights for ten years. Organisations can capitalise on the advantages of a consumer base through the introduction of novel products and the growth of their operations.
  4. Product differentiation: When you register a trademark, it is unique to the things or services it stands for. A trademark will help people tell your goods apart from those of your competitors. Setting your products apart will also be easier because the brand registration suits all the goods or services it covers. Customers can quickly distinguish between items with different trademarks, which will help you attract new customers.
  5. Avoiding Rejection: Proper classification reduces the risk of rejection from intellectual property offices. Filing a mark under an incorrect class can result in a refusal or delays in the registration process.

Trademark classes also play a significant role in licensing and franchising agreements. Assigning a mark to a specific class allows for controlled usage when granting rights to others.

Conclusion

It can be challenging to navigate the complicated world of trademark classes, particularly for people unaware of intellectual property rules. It is strongly advised that you consult with trademark attorneys or other legal experts who specialise in trademark registration. These professionals have the know-how to accurately determine which trademark class or classes to use to protect a brand's intellectual property to the fullest extent possible.
In summary, trademark classes are essential for accurate registration and protection of intellectual property rights. Safeguarding a brand's identity and keeping a competitive edge in the market requires understanding the complexities of Nice categorisation, doing extensive searches, and ensuring appropriate categorisation.

Kindly be informed that the information shared above is strictly intended for educational purposes only. It is highly recommended to seek the guidance of a skilled professional for any financial transactions or compliance services to guarantee legal adherence and mitigate any potential challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Trademark registration is the process of securing legal protection for a distinctive symbol, logo, name, word, or phrase that identifies and distinguishes a product or service from competitors. It provides exclusive rights to use the trademark and helps prevent others from using similar marks in the same class of goods or services.

Trademarks that can be registered include word marks (consisting of letters or numbers), logo marks (graphical representation), composite marks (combination of words and logos), three-dimensional marks (shape of goods or packaging), sound marks (audible representation), and color marks (specific colors used in branding).

Trademark classes are categories that help classify goods and services for registration purposes. The International Classification of Goods and Services divides products (classes 1-34) and services (classes 35-45) into specific classes. Choosing the correct class is crucial for ensuring that the trademark is protected for the intended goods or services.

There are 45 trademark classes in the international classification system. To determine the appropriate class for your mark, identify the type of goods or services you offer and refer to the class that corresponds to those specific products or services. It is recommended to seek legal advice or use classification resources provided by intellectual property offices.

Trademark protection typically lasts for 10 years from the date of registration, with the option for renewal for additional periods. To renew a trademark, the trademark owner must file a renewal application with the relevant intellectual property office before the expiration date and pay the required renewal fees.

Yes, a trademark can be registered internationally through systems such as the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks. This system allows trademark owners to protect their marks in multiple countries by filing a single application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) based on a home country registration.

The ® symbol indicates a registered trademark, meaning the trademark has been officially registered with the relevant intellectual property office. The ™ symbol, on the other hand, is used to indicate an unregistered trademark, showing that the mark is being used to claim rights but does not have official registration.

Yes, one trademark can cover multiple classes of goods or services. Trademark owners can file applications for registration in multiple classes to protect their mark across various product or service categories. Each class may require separate application fees and documentation.

Common reasons for trademark registration refusal include lack of distinctiveness, similarity to existing trademarks, descriptive or generic nature of the mark, deceptive or misleading elements, violation of public morality, and likelihood of confusion with other marks. It is essential to conduct a comprehensive trademark search and meet the registration requirements to avoid refusal.

Both individuals and businesses can register trademarks, as long as they use the mark in commerce to identify their goods or services. Individuals can register trademarks for personal branding purposes, artistic works, or products they sell. The same trademark registration process applies to individuals and businesses seeking protection for their marks.