Trademark Basics

Trademark basics: All you need to know about Trademark

Technically, ‘trademark’ is a word, phrase, name, symbol, design, or a combination of these used by a company to uniquely identify and distinguish its goods or services from others. It is a part of the intellectual property asset of a company. For those  who do not know about trademarks, have a look at these examples:

Name – Coco Chanel, a famous designer.

coco chanel

 

Symbol – The famous golden arch of McDonald’s.

 

tmlogomacdonalds

Figure or mascot – The white-cap chef of Pillsbury.

tmlogopillsbury

 

Design – The circular colour and style of Pepsi.

logopepsi

You must have known by now and got the idea of what trademarks are. You encounter many of them almost daily. Let’s take a tour of trademark basics.

Trademark, Service mark, Brand, Copyright & Patents

These terms may sound synonymous but play a great difference while filling an application for registering any of these. ‘Brand’ is used in connection with high profile trademarks, searched by trademark search vendors and reviewed by a trademark attorney. A ‘trademark’ and ‘service mark’ differ only in the sense that the former represents a product’s packaging while the latter represents a service and is displayed in the advertisement. ‘Copyright’ protects original work of authorship, relevant to literary, musical, artistic, dramatic works etc. and involves original databases, films, programmes, broadcasts, sound recordings and typographical arrangements of published editions.‘Patents’ are related to inventions. Both copyright and patent give an exclusive access to the owner of the product or service and prevents any act of being copied.

Why is ‘trademark’ important for your company?

  1. Identity – Trademarks indicate the source of origin of goods and services. They become the face of your company among the consumers. They represent a company’s goodwill and reputation in the marketplace.
  2. Quality mark – Some trademarks become so popular that they automatically symbolize the guarantee for the quality of products or services being purchased.
  3. Marketing tool – Consumers make their perception about goods and services based on trademarks. They categorize the companies as ‘brands’ depending on the popularity of their trademarks. A creatively chosen trademark can be a great marketing tool for your company.
  4. Value to the company – The buying choices and consumer trends largely depends upon the familiarity of the trademark in the market. The more the trademark becomes popular among consumers, the more the value adds to the company.

Trademarks are more than identity

Inherently distinctive trademarks –

These trademarks can be of three types: fanciful, arbitrary and suggestive. Rather than getting into technicalities, let us understand these by examples. ‘Kodak’ for photographic materials and ‘Verizon’ for telecommunication services, are examples of fanciful trademarks. They are the strongest in appeal and easiest to protect. Arbitrary trademarks are common terms used to identify products outside the context. For example – ‘Apple’ and ‘Amazon’ represent computer and online bookstore, which is nowhere related to their literal meaning, the fruit and the river. ‘Caress’for body wash and ‘Odor Eaters’ for deodorizing shoe insoles are examples of suggestive trademarks. They suggest the quality or ingredient of a product but the indication is not direct and requires brainstorming.

Not inherently distinctive trademarks–

These include descriptive marks such as ‘Spray n Wash, Laundry Stain Remover’, personal or surname marks and geographically descriptive marks. These may or may not be unique and therefore do not qualify trademark registration. These can be considered for registration only if they acquire secondary meaning or are recognised by consumers as trademarks. For example -‘International Business Machine (IBM)’ became a trademark for computer accessories only after it affirmed secondary meaning.

Apart from these, there are ‘generic’ terms as well. ‘Wine’, ‘Bleach’, ‘Orange’ etc. cannot be used as registered trademarks since they identify a category. They cannot be specified for use only by a particular company.

How to choose a ‘trademark’ for your company?

tm_search

If you are thinking to start a business, you must have thought of a proper worthy name for your company. The important thing to do is to conduct a proper trademark search before gaining popularity in your business. How much research needs to be done depends on multiple company factors such as:

  • Where will the mark be used, locally or internationally?
  • What is the importance of the mark for your company, for instance, is it the house mark or mark of a sub-brand?
  • How much budget can the company afford to allocate on research?

The results of the search do not give a precise answer in ‘yes’ or ‘no’, rather it gives a risk analysis that can be further used in the business decision. Especially, the novice business owners need to make sure that their competitors are not already using the name, brand, logo, design or mark that they have chosen for their product. In case of any legal dispute, whosoever started using the trademark first, will have superior trademark rights. The party found liable for trademark infringements can be sued or penalised with a heavy legal fee and moreover brand value damage. The guilty is deemed to change the name, which in turn can lead to a business shut down. To conduct a thorough research, you can opt for any of the following:

  1. Paid search: If you have substantial funding available, you can conduct paid research. The cost will vary with the scope of the search. The more comprehensive the search, the more cost it will incur. But, initial investments can safeguard your company from further legal disputes. The requirement of a paid search depends on how unique the name chosen is. A paid search by an attorney shall provide an authenticated opinion letter. This document can be used in case of any trademark infringement issue that may occur in future. You can also contact www.registerexperts.com for free trademark search.

 

  1. Unpaid search: A comprehensive search on popular search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Bing can be utilized. Referring to the white and yellow pages directory can also be helpful.  In case if you intend to sell a product or service, it would be prudent to check e-commerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart to confirm the trademark uniqueness. These types of searches may avoid initial disputes but do not necessarily confirm the uniqueness of the company’s You can even search on www.ipindia.nic.in which is free and provided by the government.

    When & why to register ‘trademark’?

After conducting a proper trademark search, you should immediately apply for a trademark right to your company name. Registering your trademark will ensure that the brand is protected as soon as the selling begins. Such cases are referred to as ‘intent to use’ applications. Whereas, if a trademark is already in use for commercial purpose and then registration is applied, it is referred to as a ‘use’ application.

Registration will legally authorise a mark of ownership to your company. It is indicative of the exclusive right of the owner to use the mark nationwide for the goods and services produced. The trademark registration in one country can also be used as a basis to apply for registration in foreign countries. This will enhance the market value of your company, add to its capital and potential turnover. This popularity will tempt other owners to notice the influence of your mark and in turn, increase their inclination towards your brand.

‘Trademark’ is your asset and only your company is liable for its protection

tm_infringement

There is no term such as ‘trademark police’. In case of any infringement, nobody else will be bothered except you. It is your asset and you have to protect it from being copied, misused or overused. Registering a trademark gives a company the right to sue any other party for violation of trademark rights. However, there is no separate entity responsible to protect and serve trademark owners. Being an owner gives you two responsibilities:

  1. Stop the infringers and counterfeits.

Trademark infringement is mainly based on the likelihood of the customer’s confusion. Using a deceptively similar trademark makes it very easy for a fraudulent entity to steal your business. Such a case if encountered by your company, can be reported under the Trademarks Act, 1999. Vigilance will play a key role to safeguard the trademark value in the market. A company must be willing to take immediate strict corrective action against any wrongdoer.

  1. Maintain proper and consistent use of the trademark.

Careless usage of a trademark may occur by media or company employees, and hence public in general. To avoid such cases, trademark usage guidelines must be issued. For instance, the text identifying ‘eBay’ should not appear as ‘EBay’ or ‘Ebay’. Resources may be dedicated for trademark enforcement, specifically in the initial stages of company setup.

Trademark Lifecycle

The cost of trademarking (registration and maintenance) will serve a long-term value to attain reputation, goodwill and identity for your company’s products or services. Trademark intricacies are a subject matter of trademark lawyers, but now you must have learnt at least the basics of trademarking concepts. To sum up here’s a step by step staging of trademarking:

>Creation (innovative brainstorming)

—>Screening (shortlisting a few from the creations)

—>Clearance (trademark search)

—>Investigation (paid or unpaid)

—>Opinion (referring an expert or checking the availability)

—>Filing and registration (getting it legalised)

—>Protection (from being copied or misused)

—>Maintenance (filing renewals)

—>Commercial exploitation (licensing).

LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP (LLP) NEW RULES AND PROCEDURE

LIMITED LIABILITY PARTNERSHIP (LLP) NEW RULES AND PROCEDURE

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a new form of corporate entity; it is a partnership in which partners have limited liabilities. LLP is regulated under Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 and registered with Central Government under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).

As on 26th January 2018, the application for allotment of Designated Partner Identification Number has been closed due to making amendments in the forms of LLP. But as on 2nd October 2018, the government came up with the new forms and changes in the incorporation procedure of LLP.

  • Before 2nd October 2018 we need to file a separate form i.e. FORM-1 for name reservation in which we can apply six names in one application but now we can apply only two names in one application which is now converted into web-services i.e. RUN-LLP.
  • Earlier after name approval but before incorporation the partners need to take DPIN/DIN but now there is no such provision is applicable. Now those persons can also apply for the LLP registration without having DIN/DPIN because the partners can apply for their DPIN/DIN in the same incorporation form which is now get changed into FiLLiP from FORM-2.
  • Now there is only there step to incorporate an LLP:
  1. Name reservation
  2. Taking DSC (Digital Signature Certificate)
  3. DPIN/DIN and Incorporation of LLP
  • There is not only changes in the incorporation form and process but also get some changes into another form and these are:
  • Addendum to FORM 2 which is for the details given in respect of designated partner and partners of LLP which is not provided in the corresponding form FiLLiP which is now get replaced by the form Addendum FiLLiP. The SRN of Form 1 is substituted with the RUN-LLP SRN.
  • FORM 5 remains the same form only after making a few amendments in it. The SRN of FORM 1 is also allowed to pre-fill in the FORM if it is approved by the MCA before this notification but the FORM 5 still not filed and if the form is filed it will remark as re-submission and the applicant need to file the new forms.
  • FORM 17 is application and statement for conversion of a firm into LLP is also remains the same by making a minor modification in the form.
  • FORM 18 is the application and statement for conversion of a private company/ unlisted public company into LLP, this form also remains the same only a few amendments are made in the form.

 NEW RULES FOR FILING LLP FORMS ARE:

  • Maximum two DINs/DPINs is allocated through FiLLiP
  • In case none of the Designated Partners has DIN/DPIN, the form can now be signed by providing PAN details of the Designated Partners.
  • If the name is not applied and approved through RUN-LLP, the user can apply the name through FiLLiP but the only name is allowed to apply in form FiLLiP.
  • DPIN/DIN/DSC is now no more required for the name reservation.
  • The same user login id which was used for reservation of name through RUN-LLP has to be used for submitting and uploading FiLLiP.

It is advisable to get familiar with the Limited Liability Partnership Rules 2009 along with the amendments made for the incorporation of LLP before applying for the LLP registration so it is always better to take professional assistance for the registration of an LLP.

Type of Company Registrations in India

The word company signifies any entity formed under the companies’ act 2013. It usually consists of an association of people be it natural, legal or any other kind of an entity. It is seen the trial to choose a proper legal entity before starting your own business.

Here we are going to see a detailed description of the different kinds of companies in India.​

  1. Private limited company

A private limited company is usually held for small startups or small-scale business. The shares of these companies are not available for public sharing or trading. A private limited company can be the one which is limited by shares or can be limited by guarantee. Now, by shares, we mean to say that the company have the liability of its members. Whereas, by guarantee, it means to say that the members can contribute to the assets of the company as and when the need arises and save it from going bankrupt. Another kind under this is the unlimited company which means that there is no liability to the members of the company. The unlimited company has it as a rule that the members of the company need to meet up and pay all the existing debts of the creditors. This means that the risk is really very high in such cases. These kinds of organisations are not found in India given to the level of risks involved in such cases. Private limited companies have a lot of benefits over a public company which is why they are widely used.​

2. Public Company

This is a type of company where shares can be bought by the public in general. Here, the shares are listed and can be traded in stock market freely. But you have to get your company listed to sell the shares on the stock exchange. There should be at least 7 members in this company but there is no upper bound to the number of members allowed here. The public can easily subscribe to its shares or make any kind of purchases. However, an audit company is necessary in this case.

3. Nidhi Company

Nidhi Company is a non-banking Indian finance sector. Nidhi Company is also an incorporated company. Its objectives are to promote savings among members, to lend loans and receive money for the purpose from its members.

4. Section 8

Section 8 Company is a company registered under the Indian Companies Act, 2013, which operates its business activity for the social welfare of the society. It is basically a non-profit organization which works only for the betterment of the society. They established to promote commerce, science, art, education, research, social welfare, religion, charity, protection of the environment and all other charitable activities. But Trust registration, Society registration and not included in it. The members of the company shall not share the profits earned by the company they will utilize the profit in the business activity of the company.

5 One Person Company

A totally new concept introduced under Companies Act, 2013, One Person Company (OPC) in which a single person can start his business solely. In a private limited company and public limited company, the minimum requirement of a person is two and seven whereas in OPC a single person can register its company. It is a revolutionary concept for the single-handed business earlier a single person cannot form its company in the name of “private limited or public limited” but now a sole person can use the name private limited at the end of the name of its business. OPC enjoys all the benefits of the private limited company with some exemption granted in companies act, 2013.

6. Limited Liability Partnership

Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is a hybrid of a partnership firm and company. It is an upgraded version of a partnership firm with the features of the company. LLP having partners and designated partners rather than directors and shareholders. The LLP is a separate legal entity, required minimum 2 partners with no minimum capital requirement, the partners of the LLP having limited liabilities. The incorporation of LLP is not so high, there are fewer restrictions and compliances as compared to the company so it is easy to maintain and run LLP

These kinds of registrations have their own kind of benefits. It depends completely on the person who is starting the business or may also depend on the kind of business being started.

What Business To Start In India?

Many of us at some point in our lives give it a thought that we should try our luck in business what with all the success stories of extraordinary businessmen who started from nothing and reached to a worth in millions of dollars, some of them even billions. All these tend to have a good impact on our mind and make us think running a business will help us to achieve whatever we want in our lives because of its brilliant scope of unlimited earnings. All of this glittering ideas however also tend to make people frustrated and eventually, they leave the field of business and plan on to other things.

Before we move on to the top businesses which you can carry out in India, it must be understood in the first place that, running your own business is more difficult than doing a fixed job. Establishing a successful business requires a lot of resources, strength, intelligence, ability to sell your ideas and finally, the willpower to strive through failure. You have a big chance of failing in your business eventually but those who do not get demotivated from all these and carry on their work are the ones who make it through.

So in this article, we will be discussing with you some amazing business ideas which you can think of investing in and make it worth it. Let us have a look at what business to invest in India.

Wine Shop- One of the most interesting and at the same time profitable business that you can choose to invest in is a wine shop. Wine shops require a huge investment which is divided into a lot of things like the license to sell wine and liquor, the cost of building the store, hiring employees, keeping the right amount of stock etc. But at the same time, you also have a good opportunity to gain exemplary profits from your investment if you set up a wine shop wisely.

Tourism Agency- India is one of the most important and popular tourist destinations in the world. So why not make the full use of it? Several tourism agencies have earned in six-digit figures by carrying out different tours all over the country. Since people love to travel to different places, you will be able to gain a good profit by asking for the right price from them for the tour. You can also plan international tours as well when you reach a certain stable and successful position in the business.

Fast Food Joint- In this fast pacing world, we have tended to change the way we eat our food as well. The people of India love food and especially fast food. So you can put your money to start a fast food joint. Decide on which cuisine or style of food you would be providing to the people. Understand the demand which the people have in your vicinity and also maintain good food quality and standard. With time as customers will grow, your profits will start increasing as well.

Real Estate Agency- As we all know, the real estate sector can provide you with the scope to earn a lot. There are a lot of investments made in this sector and if you choose to do it wisely and in an intelligent manner, you will be able to become successful real quick. You can buy and sell properties, you can put properties on rent or lease, you can also build your own property and lent them out to others. Whatever you choose to do, real estate can be the business you always wanted.

Super Speciality Store- People need to buy a lot of different things for their daily and monthly household needs. So you can make good profits by providing them with all these products. Super speciality stores have the stock for several products like food items, garments, equipment, gadgets etc. All in all, they are like a one stop place for everything one can think to buy. Even though it requires a good amount of investment to start such a store, it is very profitable.

Photography Agency- People tend to hire photographers frequently for different types of occasions they host. So to capture some good memories, people require a talented photographer to come and click a lot of pictures. Therefore, you can choose to start a photography agency where you can hire some good photographers and send them out on assignments for different projects and people. You can earn a good amount of money when you gain a good reputation and people call you to take care of their photography requirements.

Web Designing Agency- In the recent years there has been a huge increase in popularity in the field of website and internet. You can choose to invest in and start a web designing agency and help people to set up their own websites. Designing a website requires a lot of different work and knowledge. Therefore most of the people out there have no idea what web designing actually deals with. So you can provide them with a good website and in return, you can expect a good amount of profit from them.

Security Agency- with the residential and commercial spaces increasing at a rapid rate every year, people require good Security Services so that they can keep their properties safe. Therefore different security agencies are having a good time providing security facilities to these people who want to safeguard their business or property. You can therefore also choose to invest in a security agency and set up your own. With time as people will know more about your business and the kind of quality you provide you will start earning in huge numbers.

Coaching Centre- Education is an integral part of all of our lives. Nowadays education has become more popular and people are educating themselves more than ever. Therefore you can choose to start a coaching centre where you can teach different students who have education requirements related to various fields. Most of the time people are ready to invest a lot of money in these centres because they provide with effective and helpful educational resources.

Spa And Salon- People are often tired due to their hectic schedule and therefore they look for different ways to rejuvenate themselves. Therefore you can choose to start a spa and salon business and with time start increasing your profits. You must provide with excellent services and the kind of amenities that the people have in demand. If people are satisfied with them they will be visiting your store more often and also recommend it to others. So this business has a huge potential to turn your income into multiple figure digit.

If you have read the article until this point then you are now aware of different business ideas in which you can choose to invest in and to start any business you need to register that business. You can register your business online. Always remember that no one can assure you that you can become successful by running a certain type of business. However hard and smart work will always help you achieve whatever you aim for in your life and the same goes for business.

Private Limited Company vs Public Limited Company

Ever confused between the two! Let us start with the basics.

What is a company? It is an artificial person, identified by law i.e. it comes into existence through a legal process. It can also be defined as an association of people, forming a separate legal entity, having limited liability, perpetual succession and a common seal.

Limited liability –Every member or shareholder of a company has limited liability i.e.none is individually liable to pay off company debts. Personal assets of individuals involved are not at risk in case the company goes bankrupt.

Perpetual succession –A company continues to run even if any of the member, owner or shareholder goes bankrupt, dies, transfers his shares or exits the company by force or at his own will.

Common seal –It is a rubber stamp having the name and the business number of the company.

Broadly classifying, a company can be of two types: ‘Public Limited’ or simply ‘Limited’ companies and ‘Private Limited’ companies. Both of them can be formed by registering under the Indian Companies Act 2013 or any other previous Act. They are the voluntary associations with differences in their structure, minimum paid up capital, an invitation to the public, no. of restricting rules etc.

Minimum requirements to start a companyFeaturesPublic Limited companyPrivate Limited company
DefinitionOwned and traded publicly.Owned and traded privately.
Minimum paid up capitalRs. 5,00,000.There was a limit on minimum capital of Rs. 1,00,000. However, it has been relaxed in the Companies Amendment Act, 2015.
Minimum members required for the composition72
Maximum membersNo restrictions. It can have an unlimited number of members in its hierarchy.Restricted by only a maximum 200 participating members.
Minimum no. of directors32
Suffix (mandate to be added in the company name)Limited.The name must necessarily end with ‘Private Limited’.
Mandatory registrationFirst, a company must obtain ‘Certificate of incorporation’, then ‘certificate of commencement of Business’.Thereon, it can start its business.A company can start its business just after receiving a ‘Certificate of incorporation’.
Minimum mandatory restrictions while running a company The issue of prospectus or company account statementsYes, mandatory.Not a compulsion. Depends on the decision of company directors.
TransparencyThe true financial position of the company is clear to owners, investors and shareholders (public). It determines the market value of a company.Financial statements are internal matters of company owners and shareholders. They are not transparent to the general public.
Involvement of publicIt can invite the general public to subscribe shares of the company. It can issue registered securities such as Initial Public Offering (IPO) and Follow-on public offer (FPO).It cannot invite the general public to become a shareholder of the company.
A quorum at Annual General Meeting (AGM)Presence of at least 5 members is required.At least 2 members should be present in person.
Statutory meetingCompulsory to call a statutory general meeting.Not a mandate, depends on the company needs.
Transfer of sharesThe shareholders can freely transfer their shares.The share of any member cannot be transferred to anyone unless other shareholders give their consent.
LiabilityThere are restrictions on selling company assets to pay any liabilities.Members or shareholders can sell company assets to pay any debts.