Trademark registration is inevitable when you own a business to establish a unique identity securing the brand value of your product. However, the average time from filing the trademark application to getting the trademark registered is 18-24 months. Therefore, a trademark you file for registration today may take up to two years to have an exclusive right over it.
On 22nd November 2022, the Department of Promotion of Industry and International Trade (DPIIT) declared that India stands in the 5th position globally in filing a trademark registration. The number of filings is increasing with each passing day, creating a hardship for the government, as the existing applicants are already frustrated with the long waiting period.
The 8th International Conference on Intellectual Property Rights was attended last week by R.A. Mashelkar, a former director general of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Masanori Kastura, deputy commissioner of the Japan Patent Office and Daren Tang, chairman of the jury for CII Industrial IP awards for the year 2022.
How much time do other members of Madrid Protocol take to register a trademark?
|Countries||Time taken to register trademark|
|United States of America||14-16 months|
|United Kingdom||3-5 months|
Germany is known for its speed in granting trademark registrations. Germany provides an option for a fast-track registration process, where the trademark certificate is presented within a month of application. On the other hand, the trademark fee is quite hefty in Germany and European Union.
Canada has the longest waiting period for trademark registration, i.e. 3-5 years. As per records, the works suspended in Canada due to the pandemic are still pending.
China, standing at the top position in filing trademark applications, introduced a fast-track trademark registration process in 2020, where trademark registrations can be obtained in 3-4 months. China secured the top position in trademark application with 93.4 lakh applications in 2020 alone, whereas India had 4.3 lakhs application that year.
What efforts is the government putting in to ensure faster trademark registration?
Lack of manpower is one of the primary reasons for delays in the trademark registration procedure. After a gap of 10 years, the Indian Intellectual Property Office, CGPDTM, has announced the examination date for the selection of trademark agent on 07th May 2023. For that, the registration shall be open from January 2023.
The primary role of trademark agents is to assist the applicants in the filing procedure of the registration of intellectual property.
As per a report published by The Hindu Business, India has only 156 trademark examiners, whereas China has 2000 and US has 633. On average, only 12 sanctioned persons out of the total strength hold the position of assistant registrar or above in the Indian Trademark Registry office.
As the opposition cases are piling up, by the end of June 2022, 2.4 applications were pending as opposed, and 2.8 lakhs were objected. However, 30 hearing officers were hired on a contractual basis to manage the situation, but the government has yet to provide a permanent solution.
There is a probability that the Winter Session of Parliament may bring a solution to it through the Trademarks (Amendment) Bill 2022, along with hiring more manpower. The Amendment Bill 2022 seeks to incorporate certain aspects prescribed by the Madrid Registration System, including the transformation and replacement that needs to make the application process as the rules prescribed by the Madrid System.
The Madrid system is known for its “convenient and cost-effective” solution for appropriately registering and managing trademarks worldwide.
The Bill also aims to bring specific changes in show cause, hearing, etc., using the trademark office’s electronic communication. The pace of the trademark application and making the best use of technology can be a fruitful measure to address the agony of MSMEs in India, who are struggling with the trademark registration process.