Trademark Registration is Beneficial For ECommerce E-commerce companies are securing a strong position in India for a while now. Several companies have moved their business online and engaged in transactions through apps and websites. Due to a large number of websites online, offline businesses now find it hard to stand apart from their competition. Here, establishing a unique brand...
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Trademark Registration is Beneficial For ECommerce
E-commerce companies are securing a strong position in India for a while now. Several companies have moved their business online and engaged in transactions through apps and websites. Due to a large number of websites online, offline businesses now find it hard to stand apart from their competition. Here, establishing a unique brand identity becomes integral to do business.
Trademark registration is one of the most vital components of having a unique business identity. So, in this article, we will take an in-depth look at how crucial trademark registration is for e-commerce companies, and how to obtain one.
What is trademark registration?
Any logo, words or unique symbol that enable customers to identify a business or any product it creates is referred to as a trademark. The process of officially registering the logo, word or unique design by which companies legally validate their intellectual identity or trademark is called trademark registration.
Without proper registration, trademarks will not enjoy legal protection against copyright infringement. However, once registered, a trademark belongs exclusively to the applicant, ensuing no other business can copy or use them for themselves, but they have to renew the trademark every 10 years. Hence, it is relatively easy to see why trademark registration is an integral part of maintaining ones' brand identity and quality assurance.
Importance of Trademark Registration
It is not mandatory for e-commerce companies to register trademarks. However, it is recommended to do so to protect their best interests. All e-commerce companies will have to trademark some aspect of their website to ensure they remain unique as any similarity leading to confusion with the identity of another trademark may end up in the rejection of the application.
Without such registration, other companies and websites will be able to copy your brand identity by faking, mimicking your logo, name, or even domain name. Hence, all e-commerce companies are suggested to protect their identity and goodwill by registering their trademark and maintaining their uniqueness.
Different Stages of Trademark Application
E-commerce companies can indicate that they have started the application process and the level where their application is by the symbols assigned by law. Such companies enjoy copyright and trademark protection assigned to the level they are on by using the following symbols:
• ™ – Indicates that the company has filed for a trademark, but has not got approved yet.
• ® – Indicates a registered trademark that enjoys complete and comprehensive legal protection against any infringement or misuse.
• ℠ – A less popular option that indicates the sale of services, and is known as a service mark logo.
Benefits of Trademark Registration for e-Commerce Companies
The trademark registered companies enjoy certain advantages and legal protections:
• Serves as a notice to your competitors to not use the same trademark
• Helps improve your overall brand identity and awareness
• Enables you to invest in promotional and marketing practices without fear of replication
• Receive exclusive ownership rights preventing any risk of duplication or replication
• Provides legal protection which proves every useful during litigation
• Provides businesses with the unique right to use the said trademark
• More straightforward resolution of legal disputes and helps companies sue in case of infringement
• Allows business owners to transfer the trademark if required at a later stage
• Helps protect your brand identity from any damage via counterfeits of lower quality
Relation of Trademark With Company Registration
Businesses have to provide a unique name during the name approval process. However, it is not necessary for trademark registration. While the Registrar of Companies (RoC) will check for the availability of the company name to ensure there are no companies with the same names, it does not protect the brand. Hence, sanction or approval from the RoC does not in any way guarantee intellectual property rights over the assigned name. As a result, while your name might be approved under the Companies Act, the Trademark Act might differ from this opinion. Hence, companies that have approval from the RoC must apply for Trademark registration to achieve IP rights and protection.
In case, there is already an existing trademark in that name, the application is rejected and the parties get an opportunity to be heard. At this point, the company may modify or design a new logo and send it back for the registration process.
Procedure to file for trademark registration
For filing a trademark registration in India, applicants have to file an online request via the Trademarks Registry online portal. The company will have to file an online application and provide supporting documents as evidence for the same. The office of Trademark Registration will send all documents submitted for verification to ensure that the applied-for trademark is available. Once the application is filed, the executives will publish the same in a journal and wait to see if any other company or individual objects to the registration.
In case someone files an objection, the office will set up a hearing to hear both sides of the argument and then make a well-informed decision. After verification, the executives will provide you with a Trademark certificate.
Once approved, the trademark remains valid for 10 years and can be renewed for the same period again if required. Also, since coming up with a new logo or name can take quite some time, registration of a trademark can occur before the company incorporation. In such cases, the trademark may be filed as personal property, which may then be transferred over to the business after incorporation.
International Validation of Registered Trademarks
Most e-commerce companies have an international presence and will, therefore, require trademark protection in multiple countries.
Trademark registration is geography-specific and that is why the Madrid Protocol becomes significant. This protocol allows companies to file for a trademark grant that is legally accepted in over a hundred countries with ease. A registered trademark in a country that is a part of the protocol becomes valid in other member countries through a simple online process. Since India became a member of this union in 2013, e-commerce companies in India that need an internationally accepted trademark can file one under this protocol.