What is a Trade Mark?
A trade mark popularly known as brand name, is an identification symbol which may be a word, a device, a label or numeral etc. or a combination thereof used in the course of trade to enable the purchasing public to distinguish one trader’s goods from similar goods of  other traders. It may include shape of goods, their packaging or combination of colors. The (P) or ™ may be used along with the mark before its registration and the symbol ® after its registration.

What is a Service Mark?
It is a mark similar to a trade mark but applies to services rather than goods. e.g. Insurance, banking, consultancy, credit card, lotteries etc.

Are all trademarks registrable?
No. It is not possible to register a trade mark which is confusingly similar to a trade mark of another trader who has been using the trade mark earlier for the same goods or services. The trade mark should not conflict with a trade mark already registered or is pending registration in respect of similar goods and services. Some marks are also prohibited from registration under the directions of the Government.

What rights do registration of trade marks confer?
Registration provides the exclusive right to use the trade mark in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered and the right to take legal action against others who may infringe the registered trade mark or one resembling it in relation to similar goods or services.

Once a trade mark is registered, it is prima facie proof of the legal ownership of the mark. The mere production of the registration certificate would enable the registered Proprietor to seek injunction from appropriate court against pirates. He can also license or assign his trade mark as Legal Property for a consideration. Registration initially confers this right for ten years under the Trade Marks Act, 1999 from the date of filing. It is renewable for a further period of ten years at a time in perpetuity.

How is registration obtained in India?
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How long does the registration process take?
On an average it takes about two to three years from the date of filing of the application. This period is planned to be reduced through the streamlining of procedures and computerization of various processes.

Who can apply for registration of a trade mark?
Any person who claims to be the proprietor of a trade mark used or proposed to be used by him may apply to register the mark. An application can be made in the name of an individual or partners of a firm or a corporation. A minor represented by the guardian can also apply. Two or more persons may apply to register a mark as Joint Proprietors.

How long can a registered trade mark be kept in force?
Indefinitely, but renewal fees have to be paid for renewing for successive period of 10 years from the date of the application.

Does a trade mark have to be in use before it is registered?
No. It is possible to register a trade mark which is even proposed to be used.

Can a trade mark be removed from the Register because of it not being in use after registration?
Yes. A trade mark which has been registered and has not been used for a continuous Period of 5 years and 3 months can be removed on an application made by a person who is aggrieved.

Does registration in India give protection abroad?
No. It will be necessary to apply for registration separately in each of those countries where registration is required.

Is registration of a trade mark compulsory?
No. registration of a trade mark is not compulsory. However, without registration the owner of a trade mark cannot bring an action for infringement to protect his mark if it is used by others. Suing for infringement of a registered trade mark is much simpler than launching a common law action for passing off to protect an unregistered trade mark since the owner of a registered trade mark can base his case simply upon the fact that his mark has been registered.

How necessary is it to get professional help?
As registration of a trade mark is a specialized area of work it may be necessary to employ the services of a trade mark agent or attorney. However, this is not compulsory and an applicant may correspond directly with the Trade Marks Registry and handle the matter.

What are the essential requirements for registration?
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