Trademark is referred to the signs, designs, expressions or texts which identifies a particular product or service rendered by the particular source. It provides the owner exclusive right to use it, which distinguishes his/her goods and services from others, as well as, provides various benefits, thereto. Intellectual property (IP) awareness has steadily increased among the Indian businesses over a short span of time and the number of trademark applications has increased steadily. It is therefore important for existing businesses and new businesses to register their marks and be aware of trademark filings which are similar to them for noting that no infringement of IP can take place. Trademark Public Search helps to resolve this problem.
In India, trademark registrations are controlled by the Comptroller General of Patent Designs and Trademarks. They have provided an online Trademark Search in India, which can be used by any person, either professional or non-professional. And it contains all the trademarks applications submitted to the registrar in India including registered, applied, objected and expired ones. In trademark search in India, similar word marks as well as phonetically similar names in a specific class can be comprehensively and exhaustively be searched.
To do a trademark search in India, please visit http://ipindiaonline.gov.in/tmrpublicsearch/frmmain.aspx
Now we should know, how to move forward from this step for searching trademark in India.
1. This Search is divided into three categories[i]-
- a) Wordmark – For the similar representation of wordmark;
- b) Vienna Code – For similar artistic representation; and
- c) Phonetic – For phonetically similar words.
Begin your search, after selecting the desired parameter as mentioned above.
For example, to perform a Wordmark search, select “Wordmark” option from the search type and insert the keyword(s) of your proposed trademark in the “Wordmark” space.
There are various classes dependent on the type of goods and services, and trademark search in India provides one search in class at a particular time. The class details can be known by clicking “Class Details” option. Accordingly, select the same, and carry on with the search.
You can perform the wordmark search using any prefix method either “Starts With” (starting with that word you entered), “Contains” (contains that word you entered) or “Match With” (wordmark matched with the word you entered).
Click the “Start Search” option.
For Example: Let’s take the word “FORD”, and searching it in class 12 (which relates to vehicles), the following result is displayed:
Now, selecting “show details” would display information pertaining to the trademark’s application number, application date, owner information, validity date, used since date and addon description.
A search could bring up a number of matches and understanding the trademark search status[ii] is essential for interpreting the implications.
The phonetic search is the same as that of the above wordmark search method but doesn’t have a prefix method. Therefore, you can follow the same steps as mentioned above for this search also.
Vienna code Search
This search is performed to find a similar device mark. Thus, you will have to enter the six-digit Vienna code in corresponding to “Vienna code”, and select your relevant class. After the search, the result table would show all the mark containing the device mark.
Trademark search in India can also be done otherwise with the Trademark Public Search Tool of ALPHABET LEGAL firm, which provides you with friendly user interface and is easier to operate if compared with the above-mentioned process or procedure. To reach on the same you can click on http://www.companyvakil.com/, which provides comprehensive TM search tool, in addition to the general procedure provided by the Comptroller General of Intellectual Property in India. The homepage looks like this:
Please note that the above-mentioned two tools are general procedures for trademark search in India. However, it is advisable to seek professional assistance to get the trademark registered of your brand name or logo. Because, Trademark Public Search provides you with the general description and somehow not provide accurate results, either by not showing all the trademarks registered by the Ministry or failure of the server, etc. So, to search that your trademark is unique and doesn’t infringe any other’s Intellectual Property, it is always advisable to contact the experts. Hence, this procedure can be applied for superficial searches, but to search into depths, you need to consult legal advisors or renowned law firm in this field. As putting time while deciding and finalising trademark during initiation period can secure you from lengthy and costly legal trials in relation to the violation of Intellectual Property Rights of others by using identical or similar trademarks already registered or are in due course of registration.
[i] Intepat Team, How to conduct trademark search in India?, Intepat Team (04-02-18, 19.36hrs.), https://www.intepat.com/blog/trademark/conduct-trademark-public-search-india/.
[ii] India Filings, Understanding Trademark Registration Status, India Filings (04-02-18, 19.06hrs.), https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/understanding-trademark-registration-status/.