The Trade Marks Registry was established in India in 1940 and presently it administers the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the rules made thereunder. It acts as a resource and information Centre and is a facilitator in matters relating to trademarks in the country.
The objective of the Trade Marks Act, 1999 is to register trademarks applied for in the country and to provide for better protection of trademark for goods and services and also to prevent fraudulent use of the mark.
The main function of the Registry is to register trademarks which qualify for registration as per provisions of the Trade Marks Act and Rules, and to maintain the Register of trademarks.
After accession to the Madrid Protocol, a treaty under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks, the Trade Marks Registry also functions as an office of origin in respect of applications made by Indian entrepreneurs for international registration of their trademarks and as an office of the designated Contracting party in respect of international registrations in which India has been designated for protection of the relevant trademarks.
The Head Office of the Trade Marks Registry is at Mumbai and branch offices are at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata. For the purposes functions related to international applications and registrations under the Madrid Protocol, an International Registration wing is set up in the Head Office of the Trade Marks Registry at Mumbai.
Apart from the above, the Registry has to discharge various other functions like offering preliminary advice as to registrability; causing a search to be made for issue a certificate under Section 45(1) of the Copyright Act, 1957 to the effect that no trademark identical with or deceptively similar to such artist work as sought to be registered as a copyright has been registered as a trademark; providing public information and guidance to the public on the subject; providing information to various government agencies including Police, Central Excise personnel, Public Grievance Redressal, maintenance of top class IP library, the production of annual statistical report, production of official Trade Marks Journal in electronic form and submit an Annual Report to Parliament.
The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks heads the TRADE MARKS Registry offices and functions as the Registrar of TRADE MARKS. He, from time to time, assigns functions of the Registrar to other officers appointed by the Central Government and such officers also function as Registrar in respect of matters assigned to them.
Presently all the functions of the Trade Marks Registry are performed through an automated Trade Marks System. The Central Server of TMR is at Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Building in Delhi and Disaster Recovery server is at IPO, Mumbai. All branches of the Trade Marks Registry are connected to the main server in Delhi with Virtual Private Network (VPN). All the actions done by the office staffs through the TMS are recorded in the central server on real time basis.
Administrative Steps Involved in Registration of Trade Marks
Very briefly, an application for registration of trademarks is received at the Head office or a branch office of the Trade Marks Registry within whose territorial limits the Principal place of the business of the applicant is situated. The digitization and formality checking of the application is done at the respective offices.
The Application is then examined mainly as to whether the relevant mark is capable of distinguishing applicant’s good or services, whether it is prohibited for registration under any law for the time being in force, whether the registration of the relevant mark is likely to cause confusion or deception because of earlier identical or similar marks existing on records. The Examination of all applications is done centrally in the Head Office of the TRADE MARKS Registry at Mumbai.
The Registrar on consideration of the application and any evidence of use or distinctiveness decides whether the application should be accepted for registration or not, and if accepted, publishes the same in the Trade Marks Journal, an official gazette of the Trade Marks Registry, which is hosted weekly on official website.
Within four months from the date of publication any person can file an opposition in such cases the opposition proceeding is conducted at respective office of the Trade Marks Registry.
Under opposition proceeding, a copy of the notice of opposition is served to the applicant who is required to file a counter-statement within two months failing which the application is treated as abandoned. The copy of the a counter-statement is served to the opponent, who leads evidence in support of his case by way of affidavit, then the applicant leads evidence. After that the opponent files evidence by way of rebuttal. On completion of evidence, the matter is set down for a hearing and the case is decided by a Hearing officer.
The registrar’s decision is appealable to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
- MUMBAI : The State of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Goa
- AHMEDABAD : The State of Gujarat and Rajasthan and Union Territories of Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
- KOLKATA : The State of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Jharkhand and Union Territories of Nagaland, Andaman & Nikobar Islands.
- NEW DELHI : The state of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Union Territories of Chandigarh
- CHENNAI : The state of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Union Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep Island