With technological development worldwide, it is becoming difficult for brands to retain their unique identity with each passing day. That’s when brand name registration comes into the picture. In this blog, the Author focuses on why it is important to register your brand name. However, let’s start with understanding what a brand name means.
What is a Brand Name?
A brand name is generally the name under which a business is promoting and selling its goods or services. Today a business thrives on strong brand identity. With start-ups emerging every day, it is getting increasingly difficult for brands to maintain their name in the market. Due to this, there can be a lot of similar names for similar products and services, and all of this might lead to a chaotic world. All business owners are aware of the time and energy it takes to come up with a unique trade name before incorporation. Trademark registration not only protects your identity, but also ensures your efforts won’t go in vain.
What is Brand Name Registration?
Brand Name Registration, more popularly known as Trademark Registration, is a protective measure provided by the Law, which allows individuals and businesses alike to protect their unique trade names, logos, packaging material, etc.
It takes around 10 months at least, to get a trademark registration in India. The process is simple and involves the following steps:
- Identifying the appropriate class;
- Performing Trademark Search;
- Filing Trademark Application;
- Examination of the Mark by Registrar;
- Issuance of the Examination Report;
- Show-Cause Hearing;
- Window for a Third Party Opposition; and
Since the process is a lengthy one, once you apply for trademark registration, you become entitled to the protection of your brand name, to an extent.
Importance of Registering your brand name
Now that we’re aware of what exactly a brand name and its registration mean, we can focus on the benefits that come with getting this registration!
- Maintaining a Brand Identity
As soon as you hear the words “Just Do It”, you think about Nike. This is what maintaining a brand identity can lead to. In this competitive market, it takes years for businesses to create a niche for their products/services. Infringement related issues start arising as soon as you successfully create this niche. People with mala–fide intentions start to gain profits from this goodwill. How many times have you come across brands impersonating Nike? Yet, we all know that a huge brand like Nike won’t get affected by impersonators as much as a small, newly formed business. When a business owner gets their trademark registered, they can easily take action against impersonators trying to benefit from your efforts and goodwill.
- Helps in gaining the trust of Customers
Customer Trust and belief are the most important aspects of running a business. A trademark Registration certificate is a government-approved certificate, provided for authentic and distinctive marks. Once you receive a trademark certificate, you can start using a ® mark while promoting all your activities under the registered name. This symbol signifies registration and ensures the general public of its authenticity.
- Is an Intangible Asset
A Trademark is a non-physical asset that provides legal protection to your business from infringement and other related issues. The cost of acquiring a trademark can be capitalised and shown as an Asset in the books of accounts for any company.
- Lasts for a Lifetime
Once you get your brand name registered, the validity of this registration lasts up to the lifetime of your brand. However, this is subject to renewal every 10 years, from the date of registration. Let’s take a look at an example of a famous photocopying machine brand that was able to claim its distinctiveness due to extensive usage and timely renewal of its trade name/trademark.
Most people consider “Xerox” a term synonymous with the photocopying process. However, “Xerox” is a registered trademark since 1963 for goods included in class 9. In 2012, the registration of “XEROX” was contested on the fact that it was now considered as a generic term for the photocopying process. However, the IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board) held that since the mark was registered in 1963, was used extensively in the promotion of its services, and was also always renewed on a timely basis, there was no valid ground to hold the brand name registration as invalid.
Since then, Xerox Corporation has not only been the exclusive owner of their brand name but has also been able to file and win infringement suits, to protect its unique identity.
Similarly, Google Inc. faced an issue where the complainant stated Google has become equivalent to ‘surfing the internet’. With the help of their registration details the attorneys of google successfully proved that the mark was not a generic term but a registered trademark, having protection.
The above examples help you understand how brand name registration is fruitful for your business in the long run. Getting a trademark registration might seem like a useless expense when you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey. Yet, it can save you from a lot of hassle and loss in the future. Also known as logo registration, this is an investment that you will make to protect your business and your unique identity which forms an integral part of your Intellectual Property.