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Can I get a Trademark for a Partnership firm?

 Hi everyone, I am young tech entrepreneur, we are offering our services as a registered firm.

We need to take a trademark for one of our products. Is it possible to register a trademark on a Partnership Firm's name as a Partnership Firm is not a legal entity? Or should I apply as an Individual or as a Pvt. Ltd. company?

Say my product name is "ABC" and I have a website with the same name Do I have to apply for a trademark separately for "ABC" and ""?

Thanks in advance.


 17 Replies

G V S Jagannadha Rao (-)     11 November 2009

1. A trademark can be registered in the name of an individual, a firm, a society or a company. The owner of the mark would be the entity in whose name the mark is registered.

2. Partership firm is a legal entity. The partnership is governed by Partnership Act.

3. While both a domain name and a trademark are intellectual properties, they are different and work in different areas.  A trademark is applied on goods and services. For Example, LUX in a trademark applied on soaps. KINGFISHER is a trademark used on beer, mineral and aerated water. It is also now applied on air travel services. A person may not deal with any goods or services but may still have a domain name in his name. For example:

I hope your fundamental doubts are clarified,

1 Like


 Thanks a lot for the information.

I have been offering services on a particular name say "ABC" for the past 5 months without having a trademark. If someone else applies for a trademark on "ABC" and sues me for using his/her TM is there a possibility for my firm to defend itself as we were the first to use the name(based on domain name registration, etc).

My doubt regarding website is not yet clarified. If I get a TM for "ABC" is it obvious that I am the only one who can have a domain by name Or putting it in a different way, if I get a TM on "ABC", if some XYZ starts a website by name, can I sue him?

If some other firm is dealing in similar products/services and launches its products/services with a very identical name though not exactly the same, can I take action against it?

Meenakshi (Lawyer)     11 November 2009

 Mr.Rao A partnership firm in not a legal entity.........And i have Pmed u Raghavendra with the answer to your question.........

A V Vishal (Advocate)     11 November 2009

Ms Meenakshi

Even though the partnership firm is not considered as a legal entity, still under the provisions of the Trademarks Act it can apply and obtain a Trademark.


I agree with Vishal ji. A Trade Mark can be obtain for a partnership firm also.

Sanjeev Kuchhal (Publishers)     11 November 2009

I agree with Mr.Vishal.

Sanjeev Kuchhal (Publishers)     11 November 2009

Regarding the domain names I will cite two examples,

1) In one case of passing off action filed by Lions Club the Defendants were injucted from using the word Lion in its domain name and also in its email address.


2) In another case filed by REDIFF, permanent injunction was granted restraining the defendant from using the mark/domain name "RADIFF" which is deceptively similar to Plaintiffs' trade mark/ domain name "REDIFF".


If required full text of both the cases can be supplied on request.

Shihab,Corporate Lawyer (LL.B M.B.A Corporate Lawyer and Management Consultant)     11 November 2009

yes ,a partnership firm can apply for TM

UMA DEVI MADASANI (INCHARGE IPR DEPARTMENT & HR DEPARTMENT: CS (Executive) student)     12 November 2009

Dear Raghavendra,

Under Section 18 (1) of India Trademarks Act Any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trade mark used or proposed to be used by him, who is desirous of registering it , shall apply in writing to the Registrar in the prescribed manner for the registration of his trade mark.

G V S Jagannadha Rao (-)     12 November 2009

Mr. Raghavendra,

You seem to have opened a very interesting thread. While Ms. Meenakshi vouches that Partnership firm is not a legal entity, others support me at least on the point that a firm is entitled to make an application. It is true a P FIrm is not a distinct legal entity apart from the partners constituting it. But in the context of holding a trademark in the name of a firm, the law permits it.

Coming to your further queries, a prior user will have a better right. If you have adopted a trademark and put it to use at an earlier point of time, your rights are protected. In Corn Products case ( AIR1960 Supreme Court  142) the Supreme Court said “the presence of a mark in the register does not prove its user at all. It is possible that the mark may have been registered but not used. It is not permissible to draw any inference as to their user from the presence of the marks on the register”  It therefore follows that a prior user will havea better right than a prior registered owner not using the mark.

So far as your doubt on web name is concerned, you have to register your domain irrespective of the fact that you have a registered trademark. In other words, on the ground that you are a registered trademark owner, the domain name would not be kept reserved for you. In your words, it is not ( necessarily) obvious that your are the only one who can have a domain in your name.

You may please note that if you are a registered owner of a trademark and someone have registered a domain comprising your trademark without bona fides, you can complain to ICANN - Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and get the same transferred in your name if you can prove better title for the domain in your favour.

If some other firm dealing in similar products/services launches its products/services with a exactly the same name,  you can file a case for infringement of trademark if the mark is regisgtered in your favour. In a case of very identical name, you can file a PASSING OFF suit on the basis of a prior adopter and user of the mark and show that the public tend to confuse between your mark and the offending mark.


1 Like

Naresh Kumar (Student)     12 November 2009

Great explanation. This kind of discussions will definetly increases the member interest , like me.

Thank you one and all

Naresh Kumar (Student)     12 November 2009

well explained. These kind of discussions will increase the interest of the members, like me.

Thank you one and all


 @Mr.Jagannadha Rao, thanks for your detailed explanation. If you are based anywhere in Andhra Pradesh, could you kindly share your contact details? We are looking for a panel consultant. We are based in Visakhapatnam.


Dear Mr. Kopalle,


I have been Practicing IPR for last 11 years. In any case, I just wish to give one clarifcation that a mark cannot be registered in the name of Partnership firm in the sense that the trademarks is registered in respect of all the partners constituting it. The application has be made in the name of say:-

Name and Address of the Applicant:- X & Y both being Indians and Partners of XYZ partnership firm having their address at__________________________.

So, kindly don't be confused since the rights for example in the above case will belong to X and Y and not the Partnership firm.

You will be able to appreciate this from the fact that since it does not belongs to the firm, therefore in case of any sale of the trademarks the assignment deed need to be signed and you need to have affidavit from all the partners that they have no objection to the same.


Summit Aggarwal.




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