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Overview of Trademark laws and Regulations in India

Published on : 17 Jan 2024

Trademark laws and Regulations in India

A trademark serves as a distinct identifier for a company, its products, or services, distinguishing them from competitors. This can encompass words, signs, symbols, graphics, or a blend of these elements. Examples include Louis Vuitton's Damier Pattern, Cadbury's trademarked purple color, and Coca-Cola's unique bottle design. Trademarks are crucial assets, offering legal protection against unauthorized use and aiding consumers in associating specific qualities with a brand.

Trademarks can take various forms, such as word marks (e.g., COCO CHANEL), device marks (e.g., Amazon's distinctive lettering), figurative marks/logos (e.g., McDonald's Yellow M or Nike's Swoosh), service marks (e.g., UNITED AIRLINES), collective marks (used by a group of companies), certification marks (indicating adherence to standards, like ISI or FSSAI), well-known marks (easily recognized by a large population, e.g., Rolex), and unconventional trademarks (those with distinctive features).

In India, the Trade Marks Act, 1999 governs trademarks, addressing aspects like registration, protection, and relief in cases of infringement. The Act aligns with international agreements such as the Paris Convention and the TRIPS agreement. Trademarks are invaluable for safeguarding a brand's reputation and preventing counterfeiting. While registration isn't mandatory, it enhances protection, providing a legal basis for recourse if another entity attempts to use a similar mark. In India, the law affirms private rights, and enforcement involves legal remedies through court orders.


Upon filing a trademark application, the registry issues an official receipt containing the filing date and application number. Subsequently, the Indian Trademarks Office examines the application to ensure compliance with the Trademarks Act. If any objections to registration arise, the registry issues an examination report to the applicant. The applicant is then required to submit a written response or provide evidence of acquired distinctiveness, followed by a hearing with the examiner.

If, after examination and the hearing, the registrar deems the trademark eligible, a Letter of Acceptance is issued to the applicant. Following this, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal, opening a 4-month window for potential opposition. If no objections are raised during this period, a certificate is issued. In cases of opposition, both parties are given opportunities to present their arguments.

The trademark registration process is often time-consuming, typically taking around 18-24 months for completion in cases without objections or oppositions. Once registered, a trademark remains valid for 10 years from the date of application. Renewal is possible indefinitely, contingent on the payment of renewal fees every 10 years. Read more>>


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