Trademark Renewal and Restoration in India

A trademark serves as a unique identity for your brand in the Indian market, differentiating your products or services from competition. Registering a trademark grants you exclusive rights to commercially use that mark for a set period. However, like with most intellectual property, the rights are not indefinite. According to Indian trademark law, registered marks must be renewed every 10 years to retain protection. Failing to renew on time leads to losing your legal claim over the trademark, allowing others to potentially use it freely. Trademark Renewal and Restoration in India is a critical process to understand in order to retain your legal rights.

This comprehensive guide will explore all key aspects of trademark renewal and restoration in India – from timelines, fees, forms to the restoration process if you miss renewing. Read on to learn the critical details for business owners to continue leveraging their valuable trademarks.

Table of Contents:

  • Why Renew Your Trademark?
  • Renewal Timeline in India
    • Renewal Window
    • Grace Period
  • Complete Trademark Renewal Process
    • Official Forms
    • Associated Fees
    • Step-by-Step Guidelines
  • Restoring a Lapsed Trademark Registration
    • When Can You Apply for Restoration?
    • Restoration Process and Timeline
  • Role of Legal Services in Renewal and Restoration
  • Renewal vs. Restoration – What’s the Difference?
  • Conclusion
  • FAQs

Why Renew Your Trademark Registration?

Renewing your trademark registration is crucial to continue building upon the asset you have created and maximize its commercial potential. Here are the key reasons periodic renewal is critical:

Retain Legal Rights:

Renewal allows you to retain the bundle of exclusive rights that the trademark registration confers – right to use the mark in commerce, right to license, right to sell, right to sue for infringement and right to leverage for commercial profit. Without renewal, these legal rights over the use of the trademark lapse. For example, popular snack brand Haldiram’s must renew trademarks like its Nagpur orange soan papdi design to retain exclusive rights to produce and sell that packaged sweet.

Prevent Loss of Rights:

Allowing trademark registration to expire erodes the legal barrier you have created preventing unauthorized use. This enables counterfeits, copyright infringers and even competitors to potentially use your reputation, innovations and branding without consent or paying licensing fees. For instance, telecom provider Airtel’s trademark supports its position as one of India’s most valuable brands. If rights over the Airtel name and logo are lost by failing to renew registration, competitors can exploit brand equity built over years to release copycat offerings.

Retain Brand Value:

Your trademark forms the basis for establishing brand identity and equity in the market. It symbolizes years of trust, the goodwill you built amongst customers along with hard-earned reputation for quality and service. Renewal preserves this value directly tied to your trademark, rather than having to rebuild from scratch. For example, the brand value associated with luxury automobile brand BMW is inextricably linked to their distinctive logo and trademark first protected in India back in 1999. Renewal retains this value.

Resell or License Your Mark:

Renewal maintains your trademark registration’s enforceable status, thereby retaining the option to license, rent or sell the mark for profit based on its commercial appeal. Without renewal, the basis for tractable licensing deals or selling at a premium price vanishes. For instance, popular soda brand Thums Up relies on renewing its registered trademark when negotiating lucrative licensing deals with bottlers or even contemplating an outright sale.

When to Renew Your Trademark in India?

Under Indian trademark law, you must renew the registration within strict defined timelines to avoid losing rights:

Renewal Window:

Ideally, trademarks should be renewed in the 12 months leading up to expiration date. For example, if your registration expires on 14th August 2025, you can submit the renewal application starting from 14th August 2024.

Renewing at least 6 months before expiry (i.e. 14th February 2025 in the above example) provides a buffer just in case unforeseen delays or requirements slow your application. This prevents an unintended lapse.

Grace Period:

If renewal deadline is accidentally missed, Indian law provides a saving grace – a 6 month grace window after expiry where renewal can still be filed along with late fees.

Continuing the above example – if your trademark expired on 14th August 2025 but you forgot to renew in time, you can still validly file for renewal till 14th February 2026 by paying extra charges.

Therefore, while the law built in some leeway, every trademark owner must note their renewal timelines and ensure they file during the renewal window, not relying solely on the grace period. Working with an IP attorney helps maintain reminders and renew without disruptions.

Complete Trademark Renewal Process in India

The trademark renewal procedure entails filing an application with the Trademarks Registry in India along with certain documentation.

Forms Required:

  • TM-R Form: The mandatory application form for trademark renewal in India
  • TM-M Form: Only applicable if you wish to make changes to the trademark identity during the renewal process.

Fees:

The official trademark renewal fees prescribed are:

  • Online filing: Rs 9,000
  • Physical filing: Rs 10,000

Step-by-Step Process:

Follow these key steps for assured renewal of your registered trademark in India:

  1. Ascertain any Changes

If you wish to make any changes to the way your trademark visually appears, such as altering the logo design or stylization, you must formally specify these changes by filing form TM-M along with supporting documents. The registry will then incorporate these changes if renewal is approved.

Example: If popular Indian television channel StarPlus decided to update their logo graphic during renewal, they would file form TM-M detailing this change in visual appearance.

  1. Submit Application Form

You must accurately complete and submit the official renewal application form TM-R within the stipulated renewal window timeline before your existing registration’s expiration date. This initiates the legal process.

Example: When Microsoft’s registered ‘Windows’ trademark registration term neared expiry in India, their lawyer submitted form TM-R on time to renew protection over this valuable brand name.

  1. Pay the Fees

The requisite fees for trademark renewal ranges from Rs. 9,000 for online filing to Rs. 10,000 for physical applications. You must pay this charge for the process to proceed.

Example: Dabur paid Rs. 10,000 physical renewal fees along with couriering the supporting documents to renew its popular Chyawanprash product name as a protected trademark for another term.

  1. Registry Examination

Once submitted, your trademark renewal application undergoes examination by Trademark Registry officials. They verify eligibility, accuracy of submitted information, potential conflict with newer registered marks and ensure compliance.

Example: When homegrown ride-hailing giant Ola sought to renew registration over its mobile app logo trademark near expiry, the Registry assessed eligibility by examining company incorporation details and original registration proofs enclosed with the TM-R renewal form.

  1. Acceptance Advertised in Journal

If examination succeeds and renewal application gets accepted, it will get advertised in the monthly Trademark Journal publication from that point for four months. This allows third-parties like competitors to potentially oppose the renewal if warranted as per law.

Example: Dettol’s trademark renewal application for their popular soap brand was advertised amongst other accepted renewals in the 47th edition of the Trademark Journal after initial approvals. Now competitors could legally oppose the renewal in journal within stipulated period if they wished as per regulations.

  1. Certificate of Renewal

Once past the opposition period, if no disputes or oppositions are made by third parties against your renewal, the Trademark Registry formally renews registration by issuing a Certificate of Renewal. This grants another fresh 10-year term of rights calculated from expiration of previous term.

Example: On successful statutory completion after journal advertisement without disputes, GSK Pharmaceuticals were granted the official Trademark Renewal certification for its registered ‘Crocin’ brand name by the Indian Trademark Registry office. They can now exclusively use it till 2035 before next renewal is due.

Restoring a Lapsed Trademark Registration

If you fail to renew your trademark’s registration within the allowable grace period after its expiration date, the trademark legally lapses. This leads to removal from the Register of Trademarks in India resulting in losing your exclusive rights.

However, you can still restore an expired Indian trademark by filing for restoration under defined conditions.

When Can You Apply for Restoration?

As per Indian trademark law, you can apply for restoration starting 6 months from the expiry date up till 1 year after expiration.

This 6-12 month timeframe constitutes your window of opportunity to restore a cancelled trademark by meeting renewal requirements.

Differentiation Between Key Terms:

TermDefinition
RenewalFiling to extend a trademark’s protection term before current registration expires
RestorationApplying to reinstate an already expired trademark within 1 year of lapse
OppositionThird parties disputing/opposing a trademark’s renewal or restoration

Restoration Process and Timeline:

The process for trademark restoration echoes renewing a registered mark:

  • File form TM-R indicating applying for restoration along with official Renewal fees plus additional restoration penalties prescribed
  • Submitted documentation will be examined by Registry officials
  • If approved, restoration application advertised in Trademark Journal for 4 months allowing oppositions
  • If no disputes filed, Registry proceeds to restore trademark in official Register
  • Applicant receives Certificate of Renewal and Restoration. Mark is now reinstated with a fresh 10-year term of protection.

Therefore, while allowing a trademark to lapse negatively impacts associated legal rights, you still have 12 months to revive its protected status in India – whether accidentally lapsed or strategically.

Role of Legal Services in Trademark Renewal and Restoration in India

Trademark restoration and renewal involves extensive documentation, stringent attention to procedural details as per Indian law and managing communication with Registry officials through each phase.

This is where partnering with a legal services company like Filingwala proves invaluable. They undertake the entire process on your behalf right from forms, applications to liaising with the Trademarks Office when needed. Their expertise assures timely submissions, quick resolution of disputes and complete compliance.

In essence, they guarantee your trademark renewal and restoration meets all statutory requirements while safeguarding your legal interests entirely. This hands-free approach maximizes successful protection for your valuable trademark rights under Indian law.

Renewal vs. Restoration – What’s the Difference?

While renewal and restoration might seem identical processes, some key differences exist:

Renewal Timeline: Must be completed before expiration date or within 6 month grace period.

Restoration Timeline: Only applies post-expiry between 6-12 months.

Renewal Fee: Only basic renewal fee is needed to retain rights.

Restoration Fee: Requires additional hefty charge for restoration on top of renewal fees.

Legal Status: Renewal means no lapse in trademark protection.

Restoration: Involves temporarily losing legal claim over the mark in India.

Comparison of Renewal vs Restoration:

BasisRenewalRestoration
TimelineMust be completed before expiration date or within 6 month grace periodOnly applies post-expiry between 6-12 months
FeesOnly basic renewal fee requiredAdditional hefty charge for restoration required on top of renewal fees
Legal StatusNo lapse in trademark protectionInvolves temporarily losing legal claim over the mark

Conclusion

This extensive guide covers all critical facets of trademark renewal and restoration in India – eligibility windows, documentation, official fees, process protocols and leveraging legal assistance.

Whether just secured registration or enjoying a long-standing mark, every Indian trademark owner must note timelines for renewals and provisions for restoration in case of inadvertent lapses. Being vigilant, meeting deadlines and partnering with specialists like Filingwala ensures your invaluable trademark rights, the foundation of your commercial success, stays securely protected under Indian law perpetually.

FAQs

Q. Can someone object to my trademark being restored?

A. Yes, since restoration is also advertised publicly in the Journal like for renewals, third parties can oppose it within 4 months if they have reasonable grounds.

Q. Is professional assistance advisable for renewal/restoration?

A. Yes, it is certainly advisable to utilize an experienced legal services company like Filingwala. They assure the entire process is timely, correct and compliant – greatly improving success outcomes.

Q. What happens if any changes occur in my contact details before renewal?

A. You must formally notify the Trademark Registry by filing the official Form TM-24 and submitting proof of changed contact information like address or phone.

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