As per the public notice dated 19th November, 2015, government has proposed few amendments in the trademark law of India under the Trademark Amendment Rules, 2015. These amendments are proposed in an effort to make the process more systematic and avert errors that used to cause confusions and delays earlier. The final decision will be made after considering the concerns and suggestions of the public and stakeholders within 30 days from the date this notice is published in the official gazette of India. One can mail his/her suggestions, objections and comments at sahni.palka@nic.in to the additional secretary of the government of India.aw.

This article covers some of the key changes proposed in the Indian trademark law.

Government Fee Doubled: The first and foremost area that will be effected due to these amendments is the cost of complete trademark registration procedure. According to the proposed rule, there will be 100% hike in the fees for various trademark services provided by the government of India.  In order to encourage filing of trademark application through electronic medium government has levied extra 10% fee in the case of paper filing.

Filing of Evidence for Use of Trademark: The proposed rule prescribes filing of an affidavit for the use of a trademark along with the supporting documents like purchase of the domain, logo designing, printing of marketing materials, packages, bills and invoices, etc. at the time of making application with registry of trademark.

Expedite: The Whole Process of Registration: As per the existing norms, the registry of trademark used to expedite the examination of the trademark application which subsequently allows reply filing with the registry by the applicant. It is proposed in the amendment that now the tm registry will expedite each and every step involved in the registration process so that the trademark can be registered at the earliest. If this comes into effect, it will be a boon to the business sector.

Empowerment of the Registrar for Well-Known Trademarks: The proposed amendments intend to provide registrar with more powers where he/she is authorized to decide the criterion on which a trademark can be declared and acknowledged as a well-known trademark. Also, the registrar possesses the powers to eliminate a trademark from the list if it was found to be included by some error or mistake. The current official fee for getting a trademark registered under well-known trademark category would be Rs. 100000 or USD 1667.

Sound Marks as a Trademark: Earlier, due to no such provision for submiting the sound file, the graphical notations were accepted as sound marks. However, with the advancement in technology, it is now possible to make distinction between various sound marks. Hence, government would be making it mandatory to submit MP3 format sound file along with the application. The time duration set for the sound file is upto 30 seconds and is required to be accompanied by the graphical representation of its notations.

Applications Forms Simplified: Various applications for filing trademark registration would be further reduced to few forms only.

Upgradation in NICE Classification: According to the proposed new rule, the registrar will be required to publish an index of list of goods and services pertaining to Indian origin in class order and alphabetical order.