Still, common law trademarks offer the holder in general less legal protection than registered trademarks. A trademark may be designated by the following symbols: ™ (the "trademark symbol", which is the letters "TM" in superscript, for an unregistered trademark, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
Trademark registration enables owners to easily establish their right to the trademark in court and earn royalties. It also deters piracy and prevents similar company names from being registered by other businesses. You can conduct a trademark search, to check if your brand name clashes with existing trademarks. In India, you could get a ™ within three days, but it takes up to two years for it to be registered so that you can use the ® symbol.
Use of TM, SM and ® symbols
'TM' stands for Trademark and 'SM' stands for Servicemark. The use of TM and SM symbols notifies the public that the company is claiming exclusive ownership of the trademark and can generally be used by one who has filed a trademark application.
The ® symbol, can be used only once the trademark is registered and the registration certificate is issued. Also, you may use the registration symbol only in connection with the goods and/or services in respect of which the trademark is registered.
What can be registered as a trademark?
Name, word, symbol, color, phrase, shape, signature, letters, slogans, surname, packaging can be trademarked which rightly gives an unique image of the company, brand or individual that separates the product or services of one trader from the other. Anything that gives a distinct identity to the product and services which thereafter distinguishes one trader from the other.
What if the trademark is taken?
No need to worry. If your trademark brand name is taken, you can prepare a Logo Composite Mark by combining your logo and your name, and apply as one. This is a common strategy used to apply for a trademark, even if the trade name itself has been taken.
Who can apply for trademark registration?
Any person who claims to be the owner of a trademark, he/she needs to submit the application mentioning the related goods and services associated with the company.
Are Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents the same things?
No, Trademark, copyrights, and patents are not the same things. However, Trademark, Copyright, and Patents are often confused to be the same. Although each one is used to safeguard intellectual property rights, they are fundamentally different from each other and used for different purposes.
Copyright - Protects an original artistic or literary work Patent - Protects an invention Trademark - Protects brand names and logos used on goods and services.
Do I have to hire an attorney when filing to register my trademark?
A trademark application can be filed by your own. Attorney's are needed for complex cases that might arise after you file your trademark. Trademark is a simple thing to file and hence, you can even file the trademark application online to save time and money. Also, you can even start the trademark process by using online services and then later on switch to trademark attorneys, if needed.
Can any correction be made in the application or register?
Yes. But the basic principle is that the trade mark applied for should not be substantially altered affecting its identity. Subject to this changes are pefmissible according to rules detailed in the subordinate legislation.
When can I use ™ with my Trademark?
The TM mark can be used along with the trademark once the trademark application is filed with the Government.