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How to Keep Your Trademark Alive in India?

How to Keep Your Trademark Alive in India?

How to Keep Your Trademark Alive in India?

A trademark is more than just a symbol or a name; it represents your brand, identity, and reputation. In the competitive business landscape of India, protecting your trademark is not just a legal requirement; it’s a strategic necessity. Once you’ve successfully registered a trademark, it becomes crucial to take proactive steps to keep it alive and safeguarded from infringement or misuse. In this article, we will explore key strategies and practices to ensure the longevity and vitality of your trademark in the Indian market.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a valuable business asset that protects your brand, products, and services, shielding them from potential copying or unauthorized usage by others. When a trademark is registered, it grants exclusive rights to the owner for utilizing that mark within their specific industry.

To ensure the enduring strength of your trademark and prevent it from becoming a generic term, several proactive measures should be taken:

  • Regular Usage: It is crucial to consistently employ your trademark in various aspects of your business, including advertising, website content, and product labelling and packaging.
  • Acknowledge It as a Trademark: Make clear references to your trademark in your communications and branding materials to reinforce its distinctiveness and ownership.

Importance of Protecting Trademark

Safeguarding your trademark is paramount, as a company’s intellectual property represents one of its most valuable assets. This significance is particularly pronounced when it comes to trademarks, which serve as identifiers for the origin of a product or service, setting them apart from offerings by other businesses. Therefore, it is imperative to shield trademarks from unauthorized usage by third parties, as such infringements can erode their value and tarnish the company’s reputation. To counteract such potential threats, businesses should take proactive steps such as registering their trademarks with the appropriate authorities and asserting their rights when necessary.

Here are four compelling reasons emphasizing the need to protect your trademark:

  • Building Brand Equity: A trademark is pivotal in establishing and enhancing brand equity and fostering consumer recognition and trust.
  • Gaining Market Share: A strong trademark can help your business secure a prominent position in the market, setting you apart from competitors and attracting a loyal customer base.
  • Protecting Intellectual Property: Trademarks safeguard your intellectual property, preventing others from exploiting your brand identity and innovations.
  • Defending Against Copycats: By protecting your trademark, you fortify your brand against imitation and counterfeiting attempts, preserving its uniqueness and integrity in the marketplace.

Steps to Keep a Trademark Alive

When launching a business, safeguarding your trademark is of utmost importance. A trademark can encompass any word, phrase, symbol, or design that serves as an identifier for the origin of a product or service.

There are several essential methods to ensure the protection of your trademark:

Register your trademark

The primary reason to register your trademark in India is to obtain exclusive nationwide rights. Trademark registration gives you the legal authority to use your trademark exclusively for the goods and services it represents. This means no one else can use an identical or confusingly similar trademark for similar products or services within the country. It’s the most robust form of protection available.

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 Use the ® symbol alongside your Trademark. 

Once your trademark is officially registered, you can use the ® symbol alongside it. This symbol signifies to the world that your trademark is a registered and protected asset. It serves as a warning to potential infringers that you are serious about protecting your brand and will take legal action against unauthorized use. Using the ® symbol is a powerful deterrent and a mark of authenticity.

Trademark Renewal

Trademark renewal procedures may vary depending on the jurisdiction where the renewal is sought. There is no limit to the number of times renewal can be requested. However, a renewal application must be submitted if you wish to continue enjoying the rights granted upon trademark registration after the initial ten-year duration from the application date. While the Trademark Office typically sends automated reminders, it remains the responsibility of the rights holder to ensure timely renewal filing. Therefore, keeping track of your renewal date is imperative to maintain your trademark’s validity.

IndiaFilings experts can assist you in filing your trademark renewal, ensuring your valuable brand remains protected.

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Issuing Cautionary Notices

Sending cautionary notices is a vital step for trademark owners to assert their exclusive rights and deter potential infringers. By publicly announcing their trademark’s ownership and intolerance towards infringement, owners establish their mark’s recognition and discourage dishonest adoption by others. Additionally, when pursuing trans-border trademark rights, it’s beneficial to send cautionary notices to trademark offices in countries like Eritrea, the Maldives, and Myanmar, where such advertisements are allowed. This proactive approach helps safeguard your trademark’s integrity on a global scale.

Annual Tax Compliance

Trademark owners are required to meet their annual income tax obligations diligently and follow the prescribed format. This essential financial responsibility ensures compliance with taxation laws and supports the continued protection and maintenance of your valuable trademark assets.

Filing an Affidavit of Use

In many jurisdictions, trademark owners must file a declaration of use or affidavit of use alongside the renewal request. This critical document indicates that the registered trademark is actively used in commerce for the specified goods and services, as outlined in the initial registration application. To support this declaration, trademark owners must provide tangible examples, such as labels on product containers, sales receipts, invoices, and advertising materials, demonstrating the ongoing utilization of the trademark in their business operations.

Registered Vs Unregistered Trademarks in India

Explore the distinctive advantages of registered trademarks and understand the legal framework surrounding unregistered trademarks in India.

Registered Trademarks

Registered trademarks benefit from legal protection that shields their proprietors against infringement and the potential harm to their reputation caused by other entities. Infringement occurs when a mark that is identical or closely resembles a registered trademark is utilized without authorization. In such cases, legal recourse is available, allowing the trademark owner to initiate legal proceedings against those who engage in unauthorized use. This protective shield provided by trademark registration offers a range of advantages distinct from those available to unregistered trademarks in India:

  • Prima Facie Evidence of Validity and Ownership: A registered trademark is compelling evidence of its validity and ownership, reinforcing its legal standing.
  • Statutory Protection: Registered trademarks enjoy the added security of statutory protection, further fortifying their legal status.
  • Restricts Unauthorized Usage: Registered trademarks effectively prevent unlawful usage by others, affirming your exclusive rights to the mark.
  • Facilitates Legal Action: Proprietors of registered trademarks can initiate legal action against infringements, thereby preserving the integrity of their mark.

Trademark Rights and Remedies Against Infringement

Trademark registration provides the registered owner exclusive rights to use the trademark for specific goods and services, empowering them to take legal action against trademark infringement. To file a trademark infringement suit in India, specific conditions must be met:

  • The plaintiff must be the registered trademark owner.
  • The defendant must use a deceptively similar mark to the plaintiff’s registered trademark.
  • The mark must be used concerning the goods or services for which the plaintiff’s mark is registered.
  • The usage of the mark must be in a commercial context, not accidental.
  • Remedies available for trademark infringement include temporary or permanent injunctions, accounting of profits, damages, destruction of infringing goods, and legal costs.

However, there is an exception where relief for damages or accounting of profits may not be granted. This exception applies if the defendant can prove:

  • They were unaware of the plaintiff’s trademark registration.
  • Upon discovering the plaintiff’s rights, they ceased using the trademark for the goods or services.

Unregistered Trademarks and the ‘Passing-Off’ Protection”

 In India, trademark ownership is primarily determined by the “first-to-use” principle. Unregistered trademarks receive protection under common law through the legal concept of “passing-off.” This legal framework empowers trademark owners to take legal action against unauthorized users, provided they can establish two key elements:

  • Misrepresentation that causes harm to another’s goodwill.
  • Actual damage to the goodwill of the aggrieved party.

Owners of unregistered trademarks are responsible for proving their usage and prior rights. In contrast, in trademark infringement cases, the burden of proof regarding non-authorized usage falls upon the defendant.

Passing Off Protection

Safeguarding Unregistered Trademarks” Passing off is a legal remedy grounded in common law, designed to protect the goodwill associated with unregistered trademarks. It operates on the fundamental principle that one entity should not benefit from the efforts and reputation of another. When evaluating passing off cases, courts take into account several factors:

  • The plaintiff’s prior and continuous usage of the trademark.
  • The distinctiveness of the plaintiff’s products or services connected to the trademark.
  • The defendant’s misrepresentation leads to consumer confusion or deception.

Potential remedies for passing off violations may include injunctions, an account of profits, damages, and the destruction of infringing goods.

Know more about How Can You Maintain Your Trademark After Filing?


Your trademark is a valuable asset, and its protection should be a top priority. Keeping a trademark alive in India’s fierce, dynamic business environment is crucial for long-term success. By following these essential strategies, including trademark registration, timely renewal, sending cautionary notices, tax compliance, and filing affidavits of use, you can ensure the longevity and vitality of your trademark in the Indian market. Remember, protecting your trademark is not just a legal obligation; it’s a strategic advantage that can help your brand thrive and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

At IndiaFilings, we are your trusted partner for all your trademark registration requirements, providing expert guidance and support throughout the process.

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