It is also important to avoid exorbitant legal battles over securing such intellectual property. This article highlights some aspects of trademarks that businesses should understand and apply when building and filing trademarks.
What are trademarks, why do they exist, and for how long?
Laymen may be confused about which intellectual property rights apply to which kinds of products because there are several kinds of intellectual property rights. In general, copyrights apply to codes, literature, digital works, paintings, and designs. Logos are not covered by the Copyrights Act, just like artwork or catchy slogans.
It is possible to design a trademark from just a single tick for Nike, to a brand name, like Coca-Cola, a word – such as Classmate or meaningless, such as Cello – to a label name – such as Sabyasachi’s, or even a combination of colours, such as Coca Cola’s red and white, as well as a label name. Due to the fact that a business uses all of these in its dealings, giving the impression that the goods belong to another party, the law prohibits anyone else from using the same combination and giving the impression that the goods belong to someone else.
Trademark Mistakes from Famous Legal Battles – Tracing Essentials of a Trademark
Trademarks are defined as devices, brands, headings, labels, tickets, signatures, words, letters, names, numerals, packaging, or color combinations or any combination of these.
- The trademark must be graphically represented – Although this is a requirement under Indian law, there are also unconventional trademarks, such as smell marks (of the fragrance of a particular brand), sound marks (such as Kaun Banega Crorepati’s distinctive tune used to distribute Who Wants to Be a Millionaire across all regional distribution channels or Nokia’s tune). It remains to be seen whether such trademarks can be contested in an Indian court. Nevertheless, they constitute distinctiveness, which is an essential component of trademark rights.
- The main purpose of trademark laws is to enable one seller’s goods to be distinguished from those of other sellers, and this is judged from the buyer’s perspective. PayTM and PayPal engaged in a trademark battle over the Indian company’s use of blue colour and similar placement of letters in its logo, but more importantly, the use of the word “Pay” in its logo.
- The shape, color combination, and packaging of a product may be protected as trademarks – such as Coca Cola registering its distinctive bottle shape as a 3D trademark, which prevents any other soft drink company from copying it. Cadbury, however, lost a legal battle to protect its purple wrappers.
- The trademark should be capable of projecting a connection between a person or group of people and the manufacturing or provision of the goods or services. For example, Parle G’s biscuits are widely recognized around the world. As a result of a legal battle in 1972, the court ruled that a biscuit wrapper with the same colour scheme would be deceptive. To accomplish this, the court placed the two wrappers side by side and realized it would be misleading for someone who usually deals with one to take the other.
To secure long-term rights, it is advisable to choose distinctive marks very early in the business. In addition, it is essential to run a trademark search and avoid any possible similarities with a trademark that has already been registered. The following are some common trademark mistakes to avoid.
Know more: Trademark Registration in Uttarakhand
Are trademarks required to be registered? Mistakes in Trademarks
Yes and no. The validity of a trademark depends on factors such as its duration of existence, value customers attach, and outreach. Although a registered trademark is preferred for legal purposes, a trademark that is not registered is still considered valid based on factors such as its duration of existence and value customers attach. The verdict of a court usually leans towards an older brand name even if it is unregistered when there is a clash between two brand names – one registered and one unregistered.
You are more likely to win a potential legal battle for trademark infringement if your trademark is registered and has been in continuous use for a long time. In addition, if the trademark is registered, you can sue for infringement. The court proceedings are initiated for “passing off” an unregistered trademark acquired through usage.
The ® symbol can also be used by registered trademarks. Once registered, a trademark is valid forever, but it must be renewed every 10 years.