Intellectual Property refers to creations of mind which includes work of art, invention, computer programs, literary and artistic works, designs, symbols, images, names etc. used in commerce. Intellectual Property is an intangible property and that is not physical in nature. Various types of Intellectual Property in India are classified under Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, Copyrights, Geographical Indications, Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits, Plant Varieties.
A trademark is a symbol (name,label,design,logo,letters,numbers etc.) used by an Entity/Owner on goods or services to distinguish it from other similar goods or services.
The different types of Trademarks are- (a) Product Trademarks which are affixed to identify goods; (b) Service Trademarks which are used to identify services provided by an entity/individual; (c) Certification Trademarks indicates the existence of an accepted product standard or regulation and that the manufacturer has complied with it and (d) Collective Trademarks which are registered in the name of groups/associations/organisations for the use of its members.
Trademark Search is the first step so as to see if similar trademarks are available and avoid disputes in the future. Thereafter, trademark application is filed with Trademark Registry, either online or offline under one or more classes and the same is examined. The examiner might accept the trademark completely, conditionally or object to it. After the acceptance, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. The Publication is made so as to give an opportunity to anyone who intends to object to such registration. After publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate is issued by the Trademark Office under its seal. The Trademark certification is valid for a period of 10 years and may be renewed after every ten years.
The registration of a trademark is not compulsory in India. However, a registered trademark entitles the registered owner with exclusive right to use the mark in relation to the products or services. It is pertinent to note that the owner of a registered trademark can initiate legal action against the infringement of the registered trademark. No suit can be instituted for infringement of unregistered trademark. Action can be initiated against any person for passing off goods or services as goods/ services provided by another person with respect to unregistered trademark.
IP licensing is an agreement between the owner of an IP and a third party, wherein the owner gives a license to the other party for the right to use its IP, generally for a limited period of time and in a restricted geographic area. Generally, such IP licensing agreements are entered into by companies/owners wherein the IP ownership is retained by them. The ownership is retained by the Licensor and only the right to use such IP is granted to the Licensee. Valuable consideration is to be given to the Licensor by the Licensee for such agreement to be valid. The extent of use of such IP is also mentioned in the agreement. The rights and liabilities of both the parties with respect to the subject matter of the IP concerned are also mentioned so as to avoid any disputes.Such agreements helps in providing business with a revenue stream and an economical way to extend their brand into new products or service areas and new markets.