There is a rich supply of goods and services in the market, which has made it challenging for the businesses to remain ahead of their competitors. In the quest of being the best, every business endeavours to come up with new and improved products and deliver greater value to its customers as compared to its competitors. However, in addition to providing new and improved goods and services, it is also required to differentiate their products from those of the competitors to earn benefits of their innovation and product quality.
In the present knowledge-driven world, IP portfolio of a business helps it to have an upper hand in the market. Various intangible assets to the credit of a business are more valuable and important as compared to the tangible assets. Intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, designs, trade secrets protection and other types of rights.
All businesses, particularly the successful ones rely on one or the other type of intellectual property to gain and maintain a substantial competitive edge in the marketplace. Therefore, the businessmen tend to acquire more knowledge and understanding of tools of the IP system to protect their IP assets from exploitation and use them for the befit of their business.
TRADEMARKS: RELEVANCE IN BUSINESS
When a business undertakes to construct its own brand, it needs to be one of a kind. This can be accomplished either by providing a completely dynamic product or service or to differentiate yourself from the others by getting your brand name trademarked. Filing a trademark is the primary preference of any organisation to make their products easily identifiable among its customers.
Trademarks in India are governed by the Trade Mark Act, 1999, ruled by the Office of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. A trademark is a logo, a design, a word or an expression which signifies an organisation or a product belonging to a particular organisation. One of the main features of a trademark is that it distinguishes the product one organisation from that of the other. Let us now discuss the relevancy and importance of trademark registration for businesses in India:
- It gives uniqueness to a brand– Generally, a businessman would wish to register such a brand logo as a trademark which is easy to remember and understand, which is catchy and distinguishable so that the customers can easily identify it and is not confused by the resemblance or similarity. Under trademark registration, the label will be able to get some exclusivity as well.
- Sets a brand apart from the crowd– A trademark should be unique for a brand to make it distinct from the others. With a logo, anyone can easily identify to which brand a particular product belongs. For example, when we see a logo of a half bitten apple on a phone or a laptop we instantly recognize that it is an Apple product. A registered trademark safeguards the name by clearly portraying the actual ownership of the product.
- Protect your product’s name– You can publically show your ownership over your product once you have a registered trademark. On registering, the owner has the right to sell, alter or utilize the product in any manner he wishes to.
- Helps your business grow– Trademark creates trust and goodwill in the minds of customers, so when to plan to expand your business or plan to enter into a new area all together there are high chances that you might fail. E.g., from personal care products to clothing range. In such circumstances, if you are a known business and have a known trademark, people will trust you on the basis of your band value. Moreover, you will be able to attract more investors for your new ventures on the basis of your IP portfolio.
- Lasts forever– A trademark once registered successfully lasts up to lifetime subject to renewal after every 10 years. Its value appreciates over time. As the reputation of the business grows the brand becomes more valuable. Some of the recognised brands today have been around for over 100 years.
- The advantage over rivals– In order to have an upper edge over the potential rivals, it is important to have registered trademarks. It is not only crucial as it significantly adds to the brand value but also plays a vital role in the expansion and growth of the business. It also helps in competing with rivals as higher the brand value more will be the demand for the products and services. Moreover, registering the trademark will bar the rivals from misusing the brand name or logo and take undue advantage.
- Legal Protection– Under any circumstances of infringement, the trademark-holder are entitled to file a lawsuit and claim compensation. It provides legal protection against fake and fraudulent products.
- Tool for communication– Trademark is the best tool for communication, one can think of. An exclusive logo gives wide-ranging information pertaining to the company’s reputation, its products and services as per the customer’s needs. Trademarks can break knowledge and cultural barriers and function across borders. Trademark need not be a word; even design can be recognised as a trademark regardless of any language or alphabets.
REGISTERED AND UNREGISTERED TRADEMARKS
Registering your brand name will help you to find out if any other company is using same or similar band name which might later cause litigation or confusion amongst the targeted customers which will, in turn, lead to loss of revenue. Moreover, protecting your brand name by registering it will deter your competitors from using your brand name and reaping the profits of your popularity. Also, in order to prove infringement, it is a mandatory requirement to prove that the infringing mark is comparable or deceivingly similar to the already registered mark.
As per the recent reports, maximum applications were filled under three classes namely Medical and pharmaceutical, clothing including shoes etc and tea, coffee, cocoa etc. ranging from 15,000 to 50,000 applications. In total, approximately 2,50,000 trademarks were registered in the year 2016-2017.
Owing to be benefits of trademark registration, rapid growth can be seen in the number of applications being filed each year by the businesses to protect their brands. In line with these applications even the trademark granting authorities are also providing protection to the applicants by granting them registration. Always keep in mind to make your band mark distinct from others in your industry as it will be easier to protect it from the competitors.
Sheena Gupta is a Law Post Graduate specialising in Corporate Law. She has been a Lawyer, Assistant Professor and an Academic Writer. She has a flair for writing on contemporary legal topics. Presently, she is associated with quickcompany.in as a Legal writer.