The Evolution of Trademarks in India
Trademarks have become a key aspect of Intellectual Property Rights in todays time. To begin, we ought to see as to what a Trademark is. A Trademark can be defined as a device pointing distinctly to the origin or ownership of merchandise to which it is applied and legally reserved for the exclusive use of the owner as maker or seller. The legal framework for Trademarks came in the form of the Trademark Protection Act 1999.
Like the legislations in various other areas, the Trademark Act came in the wake of pressure from the International community. India’s obligations under the TRIPS regime include protection to distinguishing marks, recognition of service marks, indefinite periodical renewal of registration, and the abolition of compulsory licensing etc. The onset of the Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization, the importance of intellectual property rights have been recognized. In furtherance of this, the Indian Trade and Merchandising Act of 1958 was replaced by the new legislation. The Act conforms to all requirements of TRIPS and ensures that it accords with all systems and practices.
The new rules brought forth a number of changes. Following are a few key features of the 2017 Trademark Rules :
Reduction of Forms
The Reduction of Forms to 8 from 74 has made the process of registration less cumbersome.
Increase in Price
A comparison of Schedule 1 of the 2002 and 2017 Rules will show that there has been a 400% increase for each type of application. However, the rules provide concessions for Start-ups, individuals and small enterprises.
Promotion of E-Filing
The reduction of price for E-Filing has incentivized the process by providing low application fee.
Representation of sound marks
While the 2002 rules do not provide for sound marks, rule 26 of the 2017 Trademark Rules provide as follows;
(5) Where an application for the registration of a trademark consists of a sound as a trademark, the reproduction of the same shall be submitted in the MP3 format not exceeding thirty seconds’ length recorded on a medium which allows for easy and clearly audible replaying accompanied with a graphical representation of its notations.”
Hence, sounds have been recognized as a trademark.
Advantages of having a Trademark
A lot of effort has been put to strengthen the Trademark regime in India and this has also resulted in lot of advantages; namely the ‘TM’ or ‘SM can be used by companies to claim ownership or registration of a product. Secondly, that it affords protection to owners against it being used by competitors. Thirdly, that when a company has a trademark registration, it will have the exclusive right to use it throughout the nation. Hence, Trademarks are integral to a company.