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A trademark is a mark which is unique, distinctive, made up of names, symbols, signs, sounds, images, shape, packaging, colour combination, and capable of distinguishing one product from another.

Trademark is a mark accorded with protection, intended to serve the purpose of recognizing the source/origin of the goods or services to which the particular mark belongs.

Functions of a trademark are:

  • Identification – Identifythe origin of the product/ service.
  • Source – Distinguishproduct/ service of the proprietor from those of others.
  • Quality – To guarantee its unchanged quality.
  • Advertising – To advertise the product/service

Trademark is a symbol of origin and source of a mark and bears the ‘stamp’ of quality.

The trademark owner would always want to protect his mark from unfair usage and also from fraud and deceit.

Types of Trademarks

  • Word Marks – A trademark where the trademark owner is claiming rights only in the word, letters or numbers themselves, without claiming any right in the manner how these words are presented is known as a wordmark. In other words, a wordmark refers to the right of the owner only on the words, letters, etc. but have no right on the way it is presented. Example: Amul, Nike, Armani, Adidas, etc.
  • Service Marks – A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.
  • Collective Marks – A collective trade mark is a mark that distinguished the goods or services of the members of an association of persons. Such association of persons is the proprietor of the mark in such a case. For example, ‘CA’ used by ‘The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’, ‘CS’ used by ‘The Institute of Companies Secretaries of India’.
  • Certification Marks–A Certification Mark is a mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade which are certified by the proprietor so as to differential with respect to. WOOLMARK, ISI etc. fall in the category of Certification Marks. These marks can be used only in accordance with defined standards.
  • Device Marks –
  • dominos
  • mother dairy
  • amul
  • Example –
  • woolmark
  • Color Marks – If color becomes a distinctive feature for indicating source it can be registered. g. Purple for Cadbury.
  • Shape Marks – When shape of goods, packaging has distinctive features, they can be registered.E.g. Zippo Lighter.
  • Smell Marks – Smell is distinctive and associated with certain product; can be registered. It is not protected in India. g. Bubble Gum Scent for Sandals.
  • Signs perceived by hearing, distinguishable by their distinctive and exclusive sounds can be registered. g. Yahoo Yodel.

Go for a trademark which is

  • Easy to speak & spell (in case of word mark),
  • Appealing and easy to remember or recollect.
  • invented or coined word, unique monogram, logo or a geometrical device

Don’t go for a trademark which consists of

  • laudatory or descriptive matters (such as best, perfect, super etc. words or pictures of the product concerned).
  • geographical names, common surnames, names of a community or persons.
  • a matter prohibited by law to be used as a trademark.
  • a matter that is same/similar to an already existing trademark in the market.


Term of registration of a trademark is ten years, which may be renewed for a furtherperiod of ten years on payment of prescribed renewal fees.

  • Prima facie evidence of proprietorship of the trademark.
  • Exclusive right to use the trademark in respect of goods/services; and take legal action in case of infringement.
  • Registered proprietor may assign or license the trademark as any other property.
  • The registered proprietor can enjoy the goodwill associated with registered trademark forever, if the mark is renewed from time to time.
  • Report counterfeit products sold in the markets because using/buying/selling fake products is trademark infringement, which is a crime.
  • Always buy genuine products from authorized dealers and help us stop counterfeiting and knockoff products.

The Trade Marks Registry was established in India in 1940 and presently it administers the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the rules thereunder. It acts as a resource and information centre and is a facilitator in matters relating to trade marks in the country. Their primary responsibilities are:

  • To register trademarks qualifying for registration under the Act and Rules.
  • Provide better protection of trademark for goods and services
  • Prevent fraudulent use of the mark


All information, in the form of texts, graphics and trademarks, displayed on this website is intended solely to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. The information on this site has been included in good faith and is for general purposes only. It should not be relied upon for any specific purpose and no representation or warranty is given as regards its accuracy or completeness. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation. CIPAM has no connection or relationship whatsoever with respect to sale or commercial connection with the companies or its affiliates, owning the trademarks.

Last Updated/Reviewed on Sep 21, 2018 @ 11:15 am
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