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Trademarks Registration

Trademarks Registration

The Indian law of trademarks is enshrined in the Trade & Merchandise Marks Act, 1958. However, the existing Act has been amended to bring it in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement to which India is a signatory. A new statute the Trade Marks Act, 1999 has been enacted in India. The new Act dramatically changes trademark protection and is a welcome change for those doing business in India.

The most significant changes which have been brought about by the new Act are that

”Service Marks” are now registerable; multi-class applications are permissible; the period of registration has been increased from 7 to 10 years; colors and shapes are now registerable; the Appellate Board will now hear appeals from the Registrar’s decisions; previously appeals were heard by the High Court; well-known marks are now recognized and increased fines for counterfeiting and trademark infringement have been provided for.

The Trade Marks Registry (TMR) with Head Office at Mumbai and branch office at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata administers the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and maintains the register of trademarks. A total of 1,09,361 trademark have been registered in year April 2006-March 2007 as compared to only 8010 in year April 1999-March 2000.

Under the modernization project, the TMR offices have been modernized and backlog of about 4, 50,000 applications pending at various stages has been liquidated. Time taken for processing of trademark applications at varying stages is substantially less compared to statutory upper time limits. TMR is presently issuing first examination report normally within two weeks of filing of the application. The zero pendency achieved upto the examination stage is being sustained and the examination is being done within 15 days of filing. In respect of clarification cases, disposal is made within 30 days.

Non-Registerable Marks

It is not permitted to register a trademark which is confusing with a trademark of another trader who has been using the trademark earlier for the same goods or a trademark or which describes the character or quality of the goods which other traders may reasonably want to use in the course of their business. The mark should not conflict with a trademark already registered or pending registration in respect of similar goods. Also some marks are prohibited from registration under the directions of the Government.

A Public Search service with online payment facility is available at the office of Controller General Patents Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM)

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By Elizabeth March, WIPO Magazine Editorial Team** Source: WIPO Magazine Issue No. 6/2008 dated June 2008
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