Trademark registration is a type of intellectual property protection, under which a word or visual symbol used by a business to distinguish it goods or services from other similar goods or services originating from a different business can be protected. To register a trademark, a trademark application must be filed by the applicant with the relevant Trade Mark Registrar in the prescribed format. Once a trademark application is filed, the Trade Marks Registrar would process the application and issue an Examination Report. Among the outcomes, the Trademark Examination Report could allow for the trademark application to be advertised before registration or the Trademark Examiner could raise an objection for registration of the mark.
The Trademark Registry examines a trademark application within a period of six months to one year from the date of filing.
An Examination report is issued in case the Registry has some objection/s with the registration of the application, which may relate to the question of the trademarks distinctiveness, not meeting the qualifications under the act, existing similarity with prior existing trademark registrations, and filing of supporting documents.
If a mark is accepted during examination, the trademark office will issue an acceptance order and the trade mark will be published in the journal.
However, a trade mark is rarely accepted without objections. If registration of a trade mark is objected by the examiner in the examination report, applicant or his agent must respond to it within one month from the date of receiving the examination report. The trademark examination reply must include :
1) An answer to the objections raised.
2) Relevant case laws or precedents of the trade mark office and
3) Supporting documents to prove inherent or acquired distinctiveness.
4) An affidavit of Usage along with supporting documents could also be filed along with the reply to the examination report which shows that the trademark has acquired distinctiveness and is being associated with the goods/services of the applicant due to its prolonged usage.
Filing of a correct and specific reply is pertinent step to secure trademark registration in India.
In case, the objections are not being answered to the satisfaction of the trade mark office through the response submitted to them, the applicant can avail an opportunity of hearing before the Trademark Registrar, where he/she can present submissions orally. The hearing is generally conducted by the Assistant Registrar or Senior Examiners of Trade marks.
It is always advisable that applicant of the trademark hire an attorney for drafting a reply as they are better experienced with relevant trademark laws and caselaws that are pertinent to file the reply efficiently.
In case, an applicant or his/her agent satisfies the objections of the Trademark Office via response or hearing, the examiner or assistant registrar, whoever has heard the matter, orders the publication/advertisement of the Trademark in the Trademark Journal.
Once a Trademark application is accepted or all objections are being removed, it gets published in the Trademark Journal.
What to do in case I have missed my trademark examination reply deadline?
Your deadline is calculated from actual receipt of the examination report. Hence in case the report, for example was issued on 12 December 2015 but is dispatched and received on 17 March 2016. The deadline to file the objection reply will be 17 April 2016 that is the 1 month from the date of receipt of the report.
How to know if your Trademark is objected or not ?
Learn how to check your trademark objection online and how to download the examination report.