1 Jun 2019, 08:53 — 5 min read
Background: As a business owner, your brand is your most prized possession. It communicates to the outside worldabout who you are. Now with great success comes great risks and protecting your unique brand identity is as vital as protecting your valuables from theft. One way of doing that is by registering your brand as a trademark. Once registered, a trademark lasts for 10 years and gives the owner exclusive rights to use the brand. Vakilsearch in their previous article discussed the five key elements of vendor agreement. In this article, they explain what a trademark is, what does it mean to have one and how can you apply for it.
In the connected world we live in, the importance of a brand cannot be understated. A brand is how your customers recognise you, spread a word about you, find you online and help you connect with potential customers. Needless to say, it is essential to protect your brand and ensure that you retain your legal rights to its use, in whatever form. The largest brands understandably go to great lengths to do so. Take the example of Levi’s who fought hard to trademark the position of the red label on its jeans; Cadbury’s, for a long time, even had the right to the unique shade of purple it used on its wrappers.
So, what is a trademark?
A trademark is practically anything that your customers – or potential customers – connect with. For young companies, this usually means trademarking a brand name, logo or slogan, or all three at the same time. To more mature brands, it could go beyond the brand name. It could be a part of a word (Facebook, for example, owns the trademark to the word ‘Face’), the position of a label, a design, a colour or even a smell.
What does it mean to own a trademark?
It means that you control the commercial rights to the trademarked word/s in a defined sector of business, known as a class. There are 45 classes in all. Class 38, for example, relates to all forms of communications, while Class 28 relates to games, toys and sports equipment. When you trademark a brand name under one of these classes, you can essentially prohibit anyone else operating in the same business as you from using the same name.
It is essential to protect your brand and ensure that you retain your legal rights to its use, in whatever form. This can be done using trademarks.
Is your trademark available?
If you’ve already bought the domain, it should be. But it’s best to check on the IP India portal. You may find that the name has been taken, but by some business unrelated to the one you’re starting. If this is so, there is still a high probability that your application will be approved.
Your trademark is taken. Now what?
If the name is taken, you have just one option. You could file a logo composite mark, which incorporates the name of the brand into the logo (Coca-Cola or BMW, for example).
How long does it take to get your trademark approved?
It takes just three days to apply and you are not required to send in any documents. You can start using the TM symbol besides your name which is an unregistered trademark. But registration will come through two years later. You heard that right. Once done, though, you can use the registered symbol.
What should you expect from someone selling you a trademark?
Now that you know why trademarks are so important, go ahead and register your brand if you haven’t done that already. Vakilsearch has exclusive offers on trademark services for GlobalLinker members. Check them out.
Interested in reading more legal and compliance articles? Check out our other articles here:
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Posted byVakilsearch Staff
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