Laws of Trademark Online in India
Trademark is a kind of intellectual property right that protects the exclusive rights of the owner on the works like word marks, logo, colors, collective trademark and sound trademark etc. Under the current rules and regulations any person can register his unique trademark under the trademark act 1999 to protect it from exploitation by any third person. The first ever statuary law for the trademarks was established in India in the year 1940. Prior to 1940, the trademark law was based on the common law principals of passing off and equity. Through this blog we will be taking a look at the evolution of the trademark laws in India.
Many era’s has passed away and with each new era everything has reformed completely. However, one thing that has remained constant is the cut throat competition and the urge to pass through this competition by being unique or copying the uniqueness of. Prior o 1940 there was no particular statuary to protect the uniqueness of the trademarks and it was such protected by the common law. However, due to the increasing cases of infringement a need of enactment of trademark law was felt to protect and promote the ownership rights of the person over the outcomes of his creativity and innovation in the same way as they own a physical property. The first trademark law was passed in India in 1940 in order to overcome the difficulties of infringement and the law of passing etc. The trademark law 1940 corresponded with the English Trademarks Act. With the immense growth in trade and commerce, the need was felt to make improvements in the trademark Act 1940. The replacement of this act was the Trademark and Merchandise Act 1958. To provide for the registration, better protection of Trademarks and in order to prevent the exploitation of trademarks this act was enacted. To sum up, the aim of trademark Act 1958 was easy registration and better protection of trademarks and to prevent fraud.
Further, in order to meet with the TRIPS obligation on the recommendation of the WTO, the trademark act 1958 was repealed by trademark act 1999. The crucial objective of the Trademark Act 1999 was to confer the protection to the user of the trademark on his goods and prescribe conditions on the acquisition, and legal remedies for the enforcement of trademark rights.
Some of the major changes introduced through Trademark Act 1999 are as follows-
- This act will provide protection to the service marks also.
- It provided for the registration of collective marks also. A collective mark is a trademark owned by the organization and used by its members to identify them representing the level of quality, accuracy, geographical origin or any other characteristics set up by the organization.
- Through the trademark act 1999, a difference between well-known trademarks and trademarks, in general, is stated. Further, special treatment and rights are predicted for well- known trademarks.
- Moreover, the right to arrest was given to the police in case of infringement.
The present Trademark law 1999 and trademark rules 2002 aims to provide the protection to unique marks, symbols, logos etc. Further the protection is also extended to the non-traditional trademarks like the smell, sound, and color etc. Moreover it stated the exhaustive definitions of terms frequently used, enhanced punishment for offender and increased the period of registration.
Accordingly to the current trademark regulations there are basically four types of trademarks namely service mark, collective mark, certification mark and the trade dress. Service marks are the ones that are used to distinguish the services of one person from others, collective mark is the one that is owned by the group of peoples rather than a single member, certification mark is a mark that provide assurance that all the legal compliances have been complied with and lastly the trade dress refers to the combination of elements that make the whole products like the packaging, size, shape, color, size and color combination etc.
Now with the stringent trademark laws in place the whole process of registration is well regulated the seekers can easily obtain the registration if his mark meets the eligibility criteria for registration. Moreover, there are strict rules in place for the penalties of trademark infringement which occurs when any person make unauthorized use of the protected work. This is how trademark laws has evolved and is evolving in India.