Should you trademark your ecommerce store name?
Imagine all those hours of brainstorming a one-of-a-kind logo, brand name and tagline that exclusively represents your brand, attracts customers and brings profits. Feels good to see your hard work and ingeniousness bearing sweet fruits, right? Now imagine someone else copying your brand’s logo, brand and tagline and making quick profits out of it. How does it feel? Not so good, right?
Alas! What Should I Do Now?
Don’t worry. There is a way to safeguard your brand’s identity. Thanks to the Indian Trade Marks Act (1999) that enables you to register your trademark for your exclusive use. Once your trademark is registered under this act, you can sue anybody who uses a similar logo, tag-line or brand name.
Hmm..Is that all?
That’s NOT all folks. Once your trademark is registered, you can avail the following benefits:
You will be the only one selling products/services under the registered name. No one else has the right to use it. This will help you establish a unique image for your brand which is extremely important in this competitive world.
Once your brand becomes popular, it is very important to protect your brands goodwill. Registration of trademarks is an effective way of protecting your hard-earned goodwill.
Your products will automatically obtain the status of “branded products”.
A registered trademark provides legal protection to your identity. Thus, you can sue anybody who attempts to copy it.
You will be able to sell your trademark for consideration. There are brands (like Shoppers Stop) who have sold their trademarks for crores and crores of rupees. Yours could be next.
And all these benefits are available after following 4 simple steps. Isn’t that great?
4 Steps Guide for Registering a Trademark in India
1. Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm
Sit with your creative team and think of a unique brand name, logo and tagline. While selecting a name, try using combinations of words (just like the word “selfie” was created) or invent your own words (like Carrie Bradshaw’s “Za Za Zu”). This will ensure the creation of a unique, whacky and ingenious name which people won’t forget easily. Before banking on a brand name, it will be wise to take help of Google in order to verify whether a brand name with similar name exists or not.
2. Write, Write, Write
Once your brand name, logo, etc. is finalised, it is time to fill the prescribed Form TM – 1 along with a one-time fee of Rs.2500. Along with this form, depending upon the nature of your organization (for instance, sole proprietor, partnership, company, etc.), you will have to submit some supporting documents such as identity and address proof, representation of trademark, and if applicable, proof claiming that the proposed trademark has been used before in another country.
3. File, File, File
Once you have filled the form and gathered all the necessary documents, you will now have to file them with the applicable registrar (depending upon the location of your business’s headquarters). You can either file them manually or can e-file everything which will considerably save your time and money.
4. Sit Back and Relax. Phew!
On an average, the registrar takes around 15-18 months to complete the procedure of one trademark application. Hence, the best thing to do is to sit back and relax while the registrar does its job. They will first check whether your trademark complies with the existing laws and is not already in use. Then, they will publish it in the Indian Trademark Journal to see if anyone raises any opposition. If no one objects within 90 days (sometimes 120 days) of publishing your trademark in the journal, pat yourself on the back and yell, “Yippee!” as you can now use the ® symbol (the registered trademark symbol) next to your brand. The registrar will issue a Certificate of Registration which will be valid for 10 years. After 10 years, you can renew it.
Though the registration process is a bit lengthy, the benefits derived from it are totally worth it. If you have just started your business, and are currently at the seed level, there won’t be a necessity to register your trademark. However, once your business starts growing, it is advisable to register your trademark soon.
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