We are exposed to thousands of brands daily, and this overdose of information can be overwhelming. When it comes to brand building, the first challenge that many limited companies or individual brand owners face is “Making an Impact”. Conveying your brand idea to a generation with a short attention span is the second one. Hence, writing 1000 words about your company will not do the job that your company logo would.
From Google to Apple, all the big shots in the commercial world have been revamping their logos from time to time, just to stay relevant and be trendy. Minimalism is the key and hence logos are the past, present, and future of the businesses around the globe.
Now that we have understood how and why a logo is so essential for a company, we need to understand what makes a good logo, and how to protect it.
A good logo would be the one that accomplishes the brand goal and reaches the correct audience. To tie in an entire brand to a symbol can be tough and time-consuming. Thus, protecting this unique symbol is equally important, and that is when trademark registration comes into play.
Many companies make the mistake of delaying the logo registration and losing their brand name to a third party. Hence one should opt for logo registration at the earliest.
How to Register a logo?
Step 1: Choose a unique logo
It is very important to understand that the logo must be unique and distinct. Any resemblance with an existing trademark might lead to infringement or cancellation of the mark. The moment a logo is used commercially, it becomes the identity of the company or the individual and that is when the product branding is initiated. To reinforce this legally, registration of the logo is important. You can consult a legal professional to help you with the initial trademark search which helps one determine the uniqueness of the brand. Taking a professional’s help is advisable as a professional would have the knowledge and expertise to help you in this regard.
Step 2: Apply for your logo registration at the earliest
Even if you have not started using the logo commercially, securing it is better. Organizations protect their trademarks zealously, thus if you file a logo that is proposed to be used it will ensure, that it will be safe and protected before you start with full branding and marketing campaign. This would, in the long run, prove to be much more profitable and beneficial for the company.
After you apply your brand name along with the logo you can start using (™) mark over the logo. Once the TM application is filed and a receipt is generated the application is categorized as a new application, the trademark department reviews the application and if found complete in all respects the application is marked for examination otherwise a clarification may be sought.
Step 3- Examination of trademark application
During this stage, the mark is examined further by the examiners and if the application seems proper, the application is advertised in the trademark journal. On the other hand, if the examiner feels the logo or brand name does not suffice the requirements; they might be objected against under absolute grounds of refusal and/or relative grounds of refusal as per the Trademarks Act, 1999. Subsequently, an examination report will be issued. Once you have received the intimation regarding the objection through the examination report a reply must be sent within prescribed time limits.
Step 4- Show Cause Hearing
Here the examiner sends a notice to the applicant regarding the application notifying that a hearing is scheduled. This happens when the examiner is not happy with the examination reply filed by the applicant.
If the application is accepted it moves to the next stage.
Step 5-Publication of Mark in Trademark Journal
After examination, the trademark is published in the Trademarks Journal. Within four months of the publication of the trademark, the application will be processed by the registrar, provided there is no third-party objection. In case of an objection, a hearing would be conducted by the registrar where both the parties would establish their claims, according to which the registrar would make his decision.
Trademark registration & certification
The application now reaches its final stage. Once the logo is published in the journal and no objection is raised; a registration certificate under the seal of the trademark would be issued. The logo and the brand name would be entered into the Central Register of Trademarks.
Registered trademark symbol (®) can be used on the logo once the applicant received the certificate online.
The whole brand/logo registration takes about 12-18 months. If it’s a straightforward application one can expect the registration to be done in 8-9 months.
Once accepted, it would be valid for a period of 10 years from the date of the filed application. The logo once registered can be made perpetual by renewing the mark every 10 years.
One can renew the trademark by filing a Trademark Renewal Application under TM-R along with the requisite fees.
However, if registered Trademark is not renewed before six months of its expiry date then it will be removed from the register of Registrar.