Trademark registration provides legal protection against unauthorized use of the brand. A trademark includes word, logo, tagline, symbol, etc. which serves to distinguish the products and services. The trademark belongs to the person in whose name it is registered. Now the question arises who can apply for online trademark registration in India.
Under the Trademark law, anyone can apply for a trademark application. It does not bar any person from applying. Trademark law categorizes applicants in different categories. It broadly classifies the applicant in the following types.
- Individual/Sole Proprietor
An individual person doing business can apply for trademark registration on his/her name. It is not mandatory to have a firm/entity for trademark registration. Moreover, the proprietorship firm does not have its own identity. Hence, the trademark application cannot be filed in the name of a proprietorship firm. A proprietor can file in his/her name only.
A startup means an entity which is registered under Startup India Scheme. It is a government initiative to promote startups. Only an eligible entity can be registered under this scheme. It may be a Company, LLP and Registered Partnership Firm. The benefit is that such entities can avail 50% rebate in the trademark application fees.
- Small Enterprise
The entities which are registered under Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) Act are considered as small enterprises. Such enterprises can also avail a 50% rebate in the fee for trademark application. The trademark application fee for an individual or proprietary firm is already subsidized hence, a proprietary firm register under MSME cannot avail the further benefit of 50% rebate.
All types of entities which are not described above will fall under this category. Such entities have to pay normal fees for a trademark application.
The applicants are sub-categorized as under :
- Single Firm
An individual operating a proprietorship firm can apply under “single firm”. The trademark application will be in the name of an individual. But in the application one can provide the name of the firm in the field “Trading as”.
- Partnership Firm
A partnership firm is not a separate legal entity but a trademark can be applied in its name. The names of all the partners must be mentioned in the application. Hence, the trademark will be owned by all the partners under the name of the partnership firm. But, an individual partner does not possess an exclusive right to sell the trademark.
If the trademark is to be registered in the name of an LLP, then the application shall be filed in its name. An LLP has to pass a resolution to take the consent of all the partners or as mentioned in the LLP agreement for trademark registration. The trademark will belong to the LLP and not to its partners as an LLP is a separate legal entity.
- Body Corporate
Any form of company whether it has done a pvt ltd company registration or registered as a limited company, public limited company or an even an OPC. All can apply for trademark registration by passing a board resolution. A company is owned by its shareholders but managed by its directors. Hence, the directors can file the trademark application on behalf of the company. A company can enjoy the benefits of trademark registration until it is dissolved and renewed periodically.
- Association of Persons
When two or more persons join hands together with a common objective for a specific duration is known as an association of persons. Such persons can file a trademark application under the category of association of persons.
- Government department
A government department can file the trademark application for a brand owned by the government.
A HUF can file a trademark application in the name of Karta.
- Joint applicant
Two or more individuals or persons can apply for a trademark jointly by selecting a joint application. Both the persons can use the trademark after filing a joint application.
A society registered under the Societies Registration Act can apply for a trademark. A chairman of the society with the consent of the members can file the application.
A registered trust can also apply for a trademark through the trustee/secretary.
- Foreign company
Any company registered under a foreign country can apply for trademark registration in India. There must be at least one address of a foreign country in India to receive all the communications.
All types of persons can apply for trademark registration. The fees differ for different categories. Hence, while filing trademark application one must select the right category. For individuals, startups and MSME’s applicant, the government fees are Rs. 4500/- and for others Rs. 9000/-.