1) A Trademark generally refers to a “brand” or “logo”.
2) Trademark registration can also be obtained for a business name, distinctive catch phrases, taglines or captions.
3) Properly used and promoted, a Trademark may become the most valuable asset of a business.
Trademarks such as Coca Cola, HP, Canon, Nike and Adidas serve as an indication of origin of the goods as well as an indication of quality.
4) It is also essential to obtain trademark registration for the business name/trade name under the Trademarks Act. Registration of a company or business name under the Companies Act does not in itself give protection against others who might commence using identical or similar marks.
5) Use of TM, SM and ® symbols
5a) 'TM' stands for Trademark and 'SM' stands for Servicemark. The use of TM and SM symbols notifies the public that the company is claiming exclusive ownership of the trademark and can generally be used by one who has filed a trademark application.
5b) The ® symbol, can be used only once the trademark is registered and the registration certificate is issued. Also, you may use the registration symbol only in connection with the goods and/or services in respect of which the trademark is registered.
6) In order to protect your brand, you need to fill in the trademark application i.e. Form- TM 1. (http://ipindia.nic.in/tmr_new/first_schedule_forms/TM-1.pdf).
7) The application costs INR 3500 and is a one time fee.
8) Along with the Trade mark application, you will need to submit a couple of supporting documents:
8.1) A Business registration concern: Depending on what type of a registered business you have, say sole proprietorship, etc. you will need to submit an identity proof of the directors of the company and an address proof.
8.2) An image of your brand logo in a standard size of 9 x 5 cms
9) Brand Name : Filling the brand name registration application
There are 2 ways to file the registration – manual filing or e-filling.
9.1) In case of manual filing, you will need to personally walk down and submit the application for registration to any one of the offices of the Registrar of Trade Marks located in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad. After which you receive the acknowledgement of the application and the receipt, usually within 15-20 days of the filing.
9.2) But in e-filing system(http://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/user/frmlogin.aspx), the acknowledgement of the application is issued immediately.
9.3) And after you receive the acknowledgement, you can start using the (TM) symbol next.
Examining the brand name registration application
9.4) After receiving the application, the Registrar checks whether the brand name complies with the law and does not conflict or dispute with other existing registered or pending brands.
9.5) Publication in the Indian Trade Mark Journals
9.6) After examination, the logo or brand name is published in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. If no one raises an opposition within 3 months i.e. 90 days or in some cases 120 days, from the date of publication, the brand name proceeds to acceptance.
9.7) Issuance of the trademark registration certificate
If no one raises any opposition, within the stipulated 90 days period, the Registrar accepts the trademark application and issues a Certificate of Registration under the seal of Trademark Registry.
9.8) You may now be allowed to use the registered trademark symbol (®) next to your brand name, once the certificate has been issued.
9.9) Trademark: The whole process of registration of a brand name usually takes anything between 15-18 months. The trademark once accepted, is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance of the Certificate of Registration. After the end of 10 years, the trademark will need to be renewed.
Hope this helps.
I sincerely appreciate your wisdom in protecting and realizing the value of your brand.
All the very best and good luck.