On 6a March 2017, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) revamped the rules for registering trademarks by notifying new Trade Mark Rules, 2017 suppressing the old rules instituted way back in 2002. These new rules are directed toward streamlining and simplifying the process of Trade Mark registration in India. We are summarizing the changes in a few lines below.
1. All the old TM forms are discontinued and replaced by a new set of forms introduced by the registry.
To give a respite from encumbering some procedure of filing applications, rectification, oppositions, renewal, etc. 8 new forms have been introduced by the registry in replacement of the earlier 74 forms. The important new forms introduced are TM-A f filing applications, TM-M for multi-functions, TM-0 to file an opposition, and TM-R for renewals.
2. Increase in govt. fee
In increasing the Govt fee the Applicants are subdivided into certain categories, namely- individuals, startups, small entities & others. The physical application filing fee is Rs 5000/- (USD 75/-) from now onwards for individual applicants, start up entities, and small entities. For this purpose, the meaning of “startups” and “small entities” have been explained.
a. A startup entity has been defined as:
Any entity incorporated within the last 5 years and the turnover for any of the financial years, out of the above-mentioned 5 years, did not exceed Rs. 25 crores. For this explanation, foreign companies which fulfill the above criteria can also claim start-up entity status.
b. A small entity has been defined as:
A company in the service sector, whose capital investment does not exceed Rs.5 crores (Approx. USD .75 million), and for the manufacturing sector, whose capital investment does not exceed Rs. 10 crores (Approx. USD 1.5 million).
Foreign companies fulfilling the above criteria can also claim small entity status. The fee has been increased to Rs.10,000/ for any other applicant. The other prominent changes in the for structure are as follows:
- To register a subsequent proprietor in case of assignment or transfer for each Trade Mark has been exceeded to Rs.10,000/.
- To extend time, for a certified copy of the registration certificate or duplicate registration certificate the for is Rs 1,000/- in the new rule.
- To expedite the process of applying the for is Rs.40,000/- (USD 600/-) from now onwards.
- The for to renew a registered trademark has been increased to Rs.10,000/-.
To promote the e-filing of TM applications, the for online filing has been kept at 10% lower than that for physical filing.
Moreover, overall fees have been rationalized by reducing the number of entries in Schedule I from 88 to just 23.
3. New provisions for registering 3D Marks, Colour Marks, and Sound Marks.
A provision for registering 3D marks, Colour Marks, the shape of goods, and sound marks have been included in the new rules. In the earlier rules, there was only the procedure to register a word mark and a device. This new regime will help the proprietors to get better protection against infringement.
For registration of 3D marks, 3 different views of 3D marks have to be provided. For registration of sound marks, Mp3 sound notes of 30 seconds (at max) have to be produced. For registration of the shape of goods or their packaging, five different views of the goods and their description in words has to be provided.
4. Modalities for the service of documents from applicants to the Registry and vice-versa through electronic means have been introduced to expedite the process;
With a strong thrust towards digitalizing the entire administration incentives have been provided for digital filing and electronic communication. An E-mail has been made an essential part of the address for service to be provided by the applicant or any party to the proceedings so that the office communication may be sent through email. To modernize the process hearing through video conferencing has been introduced. Hearing through video conferencing has also been introduced.
5 Simplified and Expedited Registration Process:
The provisions relating to expedited processing of an application for registration of a trademark have been extended right up to the registration stage. In the earlier rule, it was only possible to expedite the examination process. Hence, in the new rule, one can apply for an expedited process still grant.
To speed up the registration process the number of adjournments in opposition proceedings has been marked as limited to a maximum number of two by each party, which will help dispose of matters in time.
The Procedures relating to registration as a Registered User of trademarks have also been simplified.
6 Modalities for the determination of well-known trademarks have been laid out for the Brat time.
New Rules has for the first time laid out modalities for the determination of well-known trademarks for brands that enjoy a good reputation in the market. A brand can apply for the determination to be well-known after e-filing of a form of Rs 1 lakh or USD 1500 (Approx.).
In conclusion, we appreciate the strive of the registry to update the Trade Mark rules where the speed of the era is inculcated by promoting e-filing, introducing the electronic means for the service of documents, granting video conferences for hearings, etc. Regarding the fee hike, it is true that there is a sudden and dramatic increase in the filing. But, it also should be considered that the application was last increased in 2009. Moreover, to get world-class service from the Indian TMR, the form must be competitive in the world market. It is a fact that we are much cheaper Trade Mark fees compared to other developing countries even after the fee increase. We should not overlook the humanitarian side of the new rule that small entities, startups, and individuals are saved from this drastic fee hike to promote small businesses. Now, with a world-class competitive fee structure of Indian trademarks and modernized rules, we are expecting to experience a world-class transparent pace of process in the trademark prosecution and grants.