Registration of marks takes approximately 12 to 18 months in India. One of the most significant challenges arises when the Trademark Registrar lodges the objection. Trademark establishes a brand name that varies from other industry rivals.
Protecting the brand’s distinct identity is, therefore, vital. But what if you can’t assert your right? For this, the principle of trademark opposition needs to be recognized.
What is a trademark objection?
The Trademark Objection is one of the first steps in the process of trademark registration in which the examiner objects to your application for specific purposes.
It is not a straightforward denial of your trademark registration in India, but then, the registrar seeks legitimate reasons for and registration of the trademark. He offers the applicant an opportunity to clarify how the said mark meets the valid registration requirements. This is regarded as the answer from Trademark Objection.
The two distinct reasons for trademark objection-
- When the registered mark contains any incomplete or wrong information.
- If similar trademarks are existing in the business.
Let us first address the objection posed because of the errors in the application:
An application for a trademark must be flawless without mistakes or misinformation. If false information occurs, such as incorrect applicant’s name, principal place of business, etc. the application is most likely to be objected to.
- Wrong details Mentioned in the Trademark Application Form.
Where the applicant’s name, place of business, or any other details found in the trademark application are incorrect, an appeal would most likely occur.
- Wrong filing of a Trademark form.
The examiner can object if the trademark application is filed in the incorrect form. In case your trademark application is filed by a trademark attorney or agent, then form TM-48 must be filed and attached to the trademark application.
Now let us discuss why the registrar may reject the application for the trademark as grounds for refusal for one or more purposes.
The reasons for rejection of the TM application are as follows:
• Complete reasons for rejection- the inability of trademarks to be differentiated or portrayed graphically
• Relative grounds to refuse-often linked to and concerning prior trademarks.
- Use of Deceptive Marks
Any trademark that is likely to spur confusion among the public or misleads the public can be called a deceptively similar mark. It can be about the product’s real source/ description between the related goods or services, its use, quality, and character.
- Lack of Distinctiveness
If a mark does not have any distinctive features, poses a problem, and does not allow the customer to distinguish products or services, the mark cannot be guaranteed.
- The existence of an Identical Trademark
When the mark is the same, an appeal would be raised to an already registered trademark. This is to prevent any public misunderstanding.
- False Specifications of goods or services
It is unfair to apply a trademark application in the incorrect class or a misleading definition. This can give rise to objections.
- Offensive or obscene words as a part of or as a trademark
If the mark contains any pornographic or offensive words or pictures, it is denied.
Now let us discuss how to reply to the examination report?
You must have a comprehensive explanation of your mark’s reasons meeting all the criteria of being a legally registered mark upon receipt of the report. This should be done in 30 days, or the mark will be dropped. This is how you can deal with raised concerns through a trademark objection reply with more details in an investigation report.
After reviewing the application, the Registry shall request a reviewing application report and determine whether the application can be approved. The Registry went on, if approved, to market the trademark. If any findings are included in the review report, the applicant/trademark agent is informed of the same in response to the examination report.
The Report on Trademark Review provides the reason for the objection. The applicant must file his reaction within 30 days of the evaluation report. This evaluation report is usually forwarded to the trademark agent for enforcement.
The applicant would then be advised to reply to the opposition within 30 days of the evaluation report. If the examination report’s reaction is satisfied, the registrar shall take the application on board and shall publish it on the Trademark Journal.
One needs to have a detailed submission opportunity wherein the applicant can be heard and removes the risk that the trademark will be denied immediately. Also, there are chances where the perfect answer adds options for acceptance. If the opposition’s reaction is filed correctly, there is the highest probability of recording the mark.
The brand’s maintenance is as critical as its formation. The timely filing of a reply will save your time, money, and brand. Failure to do so could lead to the trademark application being abandoned. Ensure that your brand name is not subject to a refusal to scrutinize the brand name long before you apply to avoid trouble.