How to Trademark a Common Word in India?

  • June 04, 2019
  • Registrationwala
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Apple is one of the most relevant brands in today’s market, and the most influential. Other than its technology and the services it provides, its influence is also affected by its brand name. “Apple” is probably the most common term that people use - they can almost talk about it every day. It is not a unique term – but the tech company “Apple” has made it quite unique. So, this begs the question – how is it possible to trademark such a common word – and even then, how to trademark a common word in India?

Whenever we face this question from our visitors, the tone of their query is filled with doubt. The already believe that they cannot trademark a common term. Therefore, they are almost always expecting the answer to be “No”. However, as you can guess by the existence of Apple, you can definitely trademark a common word.

Context matters in common word trademarks

Common words that people use in everyday life are protected from certain exploitative factors of IP registrations. Why? It is because no one in the right mind is going to give exclusive ownership over simple words. However, what the word implies is the key here. The context in which the word is used is the key here. With “Apple” – a word for fruit is used to signify a tech-based company. The uniqueness here comes from the combination of the context and the word. To put it simply, the combination of word and what the word is used to represent creates the uniqueness in a word-mark.

In the slang of trademark registration – common word trademarking is possible with a unique combination of trademark and trademark class. Here, the trademark class is the type of trade (business) the trademark represents.

Now, you might think that you only need to care for the unique combination of word and trade to get common word trademarked – that way, you could trademark almost anything. However, you would be wrong to think like that. There are always limitations. Apple industries have grown so big that you cannot trademark it in any trademark class now – because reputation is another thing that trademark registration protects.

What is the process of common word trademark registration?

Once you have fully grasped the concept of Context and trademark, the process of trademark registration is quite simple:

  1. Perform a trademark search: An online trademark search is to find whether the trademark is even available for registration.
  2. File the application for trademark registration: File the application for trademark registration.
  3. Monitor the progress of trademark registration: As the word, you are trying trademark is quite common, you can almost always expect trademark objection. Therefore, prepare your trademark replies to assert your right to get that trademark.
  4. Let the trademark be published: Common words can come under a lot of heat of opponents. Preparing for trademark opposition can, therefore, help you in the long run. Make sure that you are ready to take the opponents on.


You can definitely trademark a common name. However, a common name has more value, is known more, and it resonates more with people. Therefore, there are limitations to how you can trademark a common name. And it doesn’t stop at only at limitations; the process of common name trademark registration is not something that can be considered a smooth sailing. Expect to deal with at least one trademark objections and many trademark oppositions. And remember, no matter what odds you face – Registrationwala can assist.

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