Do you know what is common between Starbucks, Apple, Nike, and McDonald's? Their logos are recognised worldwide. Their logos are so popular that you visualised them in your head even while reading the brand name. A logo gives an identity to the business. It helps your customers recognise your brand instantly. But how to protect a logo from misuse and violations? You must have seen a little superscript ṭṁ and r̥ alongside a brand. Those letters look small but have a massive impact protecting the business logo. Having a trademark means you have the legal right to use and amend the logo as you wish without any paperwork. You have to secure it by registering the Trademark. If you don't know how to, Then don't worry. OkCredit got you covered. By the end of this blog, you will get knowledgeable about the Trademark and the process.
1. What does Logo Trademark mean:
Trademark is a legal identity that protects intellectual property from misuse and violation. Imagine designing a product with proper research and hard work, but someone else takes the credit for your work. That's not fair, right. Now, this is where Trademark comes into play. If you get your product design trademarked, other people cannot take the credit for the design and make use for commerce. Similar to that story, you don't have to worry about infringement of the name of your business and logo after getting it Trademarked. You must be wondering if Copyright and Trademark are the same. You will find the answer in the next point.
2. Trademark and Copyright are Different:
Trademark and Copyright serve the same purpose but in different verticals of Intellectual Property. Copyright protects creative and artistic work like paintings, novels, designs, music, visual arts, photographs, stories, and other non-commercial works. Whereas, Trademark protects Intellectual Property that exists for commercial purposes like brand name, logo, tagline, and slogans. We can safely say that Copyright is the younger cool sibling of the gumptious Trademark. Now that we are clear with the basics. Let's get to know how to get a logo trademarked for the business.
3. The Process of Trademarking a Logo:
The process of Trademark starts with your mind. First, you have to think of a unique logo for your business. There might be a chance that the logo you thought of is already in use. That's why you conduct online research. Indian Controller General of Patent Designs and Trademarks controls Trademark registration in India. Visit their website and search the Trademark names you shortlisted and enter the class of Trademark. If the search option shows "match not found." Congratulations, you found the match for your business logo.
The next step would be filling the Trademark application form, Form-TM1. You will need to download the application form from the website and pay a one-time fee of INR 4,500. Following are the documents required for the application:
- Identity proof and address proof of all the owners
- An explanatory description of your goods and services is not more than 500 words.
- A Standard 9 x 5 cms of your business logo.
You can file the brand name registration by E-filing and manually. Manually, you have to submit the form in person at any of the five Trademark Registry Offices located in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Mumbai. You will receive an acknowledgment within 15 to 20 days of filing. In the case of E-filing, you will receive the acceptance of your application immediately.
After the application gets approved without opposition within 120 days, your business name and logo are legally protected. You will also receive the Certificate of Registration with a Trademark Registry seal. Congratulations, it's time to celebrate.
4. Trademarking Rules you should know:
Rules are not very important, but in the case of trademark rules, it is. So before you open the tab to apply, let's go through section 11 in The Trade Marks Act, 1999. According to the section, the Trademark would be refusal on the following grounds:
- It is identical to the registered Trademarks and similar to goods and services.
- There are chances of confusion with goods and services of registered trademarks.
- It is the same as the Trademarks that are in the process of registration.
It's tough to make or think of a unique logo, don't worry. You can hire a designer to design a logo for you. But, who will have the ownership? Let's find out.
5. Ownership of Logo Trademark:
Everyone has a mind to think of a unique logo, but not everyone can design the logo. If you are not a graphic designer, you can hire one without any fear of losing ownership of the logo. All you need to do is to make a contract with the person that will design the logo. Ownership of the logo will transfer to your name as you pay the designer amount of the contract. You only need to find a Graphic Designer who can make a logo for you at a low price. Fun fact, Nike bought their 'swoosh' logo for just 35$. Now, let's look if Lawyers are necessary for the Trademark work.
6. Lawyers are not necessary for Trademark work:
Legal work generally needs a Lawyer, but applying for a logo Trademark can be done without fellow lawyers. If you need help or advice in the process, you can find an Attorney on the Trademark registration website we mentioned above. There are benefits to saving your time and energy if you hire a lawyer. The Intellectual Property lawyer will do all the paperwork on your behalf and eliminate the risk of making mistakes. You don't necessarily need a lawyer, but what if someone violates your Logo Trademark?
7. Actions to take if someone violates your Logo Trademark:
If you find your logo is being infringed or violated, then you can approach a lawyer with low fees or a pro-bono lawyer. But, first, you need to send a cease letter via your lawyer to the party. If this doesn't work, then you might need to sue the party and fight them in court. But what if someone uses your logo for fair use.
8. Trademark's fair use is not a violation:
A Trademark doesn't prohibit others from using your logo for fair use. So, for example, if your logo appears in a video to educate without monetisation and harms the goodwill of your business, it's fair use. But, what if someone uses your Trademarked Logo in another country?
9. Trademark is not enforceable around the world:
When you register the Trademark of your logo in India, it's protected within India's borders only. However, you will need to Trademark in every country to protect it around the world. Apple, Microsoft, Starbucks, Nike, and other big brands have trademarked their logo in every country.
So that brings us to the question, is Trademarking necessary?
10. Trademarking Logo is not Necessary:
Trademarking the logo is unnecessary if you are not sure of the logo or planning to keep it for a short period. Temporary businesses don't need to trademark the logo. Your freelancing business, side hustle, or passive income stream don't need a Trademark. But if you are on the road to launching a brand, go ahead and Trademark your logo before anyone else does it. All the best.
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Q. Can you Trademark your name?
Ans. You can Trademark your name only if it is for business purposes. Many founders in the world named their brands after their name. For example, Henry Ford is the founder of Ford, Karl Benz is the founder of Mercedes Benz, and Louis Vuitton is the founder of Louis Vuitton.
Q. Can you Trademark a Book?
Ans. You may not be allowed to Trademark a book's title, but you can Trademark the title of a book series written by you. To Trademark the title, you have to make sure that it is unique and distinct.
Q. What is the Trademark renewal fee?
Ans. In India, you will need to fill the form TM12 for Trademark renewal. The fee of the form is INR 5000. The registration of a Trademark is valid for ten years in India. If you delay the Trademark renewal, you will need to fill the form TM10 and pay the surcharge fee of INR 3000.
Q. Can a registered trademark be removed from the register?
Ans. You will need to send the application to the Registrar on the prescribed form saying Trademark is falsely remaining on the register.