Trademark registration is the new iPhone. It’s fashionable, it’s new, and you got to have it when it comes out. It has paved the way for you to easily brand yourself and your business and protecting it under the IP rights.
However, many forget the one thing that makes a trademark, register-able: uniqueness. For that very reason, over 60% of trademark applications are refused. In this article, we are going to highlight the grounds for refusal of trademark registration.
What are absolute grounds of trademark refusal?
Absolute grounds refer to absolute rules. When a trademark is refused on absolute grounds, than it means that it breaks the absolute rules setup by IP department of India. While we can just vomit the legal jargon associated with the list of absolute grounds, we aren’t going to do it. Instead, we are going to make it understandable to you. So, here are absolute grounds for refusal of trademark registration explained as simply as possible:
- Trademarks aren’t able to differentiate between goods/services of one to another: It’s the case of too similar trademark caused lack an extreme lack of any unique factor. If you are using a trademark that’s similar to a common and a generic term or is similar to one that’s already been registered, then, refusal of trademark registration of your trademark application is a guarantee.
- Trademarks that are descriptive about the quality, geographical origin, time or production or other aspects of the goods and services: You can’t name the cars you are selling as “Fast” cars, and you can’t name your pizza delivery service as “fast” delivery services. if your mark contains any descriptive term that tells the quality, location or production of the product, it cannot be registered as a trademark.
- Trademarks that are generic terms: You can’t use generic words that are used every day as trademark. For example, if you want to trademark the mark on your water filter unit, you can’t use the name “amazing” or “filter” or “auto” or any other word that is considered common.
- Trademarks that are likely to cause confusion in public: have you ever heard of Abidas, the deceptive cousin of adidas. Abidas tried to be registered as a trademark but was refused trademark registration on absolute grounds that it was trying to confuse people. Similarly, there are marks such as “Ferrapi” or “Sike” or “Reedok” that can’t be registered.
- Trademarks that harm the religious sentiments of one particular section of society: If it’s offensive, it can’t be trademarked. Forget AIB (All India *****). The trademark rule specifically states that if your trademark upsets a particular section of a particular community, you mostly likely won’t be able to register it.
- If the trademark is obscene or scandalous: While controversy is a good way to get attention of your customers, it’s only suited for film-stars. As a brand, such controversy can tarnish your reputation even before you land in market. Therefore, to protect you and your trade, the trademark association saw it fit to refuse trademarks that appear to be obscene and scandalous.
- If the trademarks come under Emblems and names act: Sorry to get all technical on y’all all of a sudden, but as per the Emblem names (Prevention of Improper use) Act, 1950, there are certain specific emblems and names that you can’t use as a trademark.
Trademark is an amazing commodity to have. However, what trademark to choose is also important. The trademark registration online India process can’t succeed in registering your trademark if you don’t make the right choice.