What can be registered as a trademark?

Updated on : Feb. 13, 2023 - 3 p.m. 17 min read.


What is Trademark?

A trademark in India is a symbol, word, phrase, design, or combination of these that is used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one business from those of another. It serves as a source identifier for consumers, indicating the origin of the goods or services. Trademarks can be registered with the Indian Trademark Office in order to receive legal protection and exclusivity in their use. A trademark registration allows the owner to use the ® symbol and to take legal action against any infringement of the mark. Unregistered marks can be protected under common law through passing off action.

What Can Be Registered as a Trademark in India?

In India, the following types of marks can be registered as trademarks:

  1. Words, including personal names, letters, numerals, or any combination thereof
  2. Devices, including logos, emblems and seals
  3. Monograms, including initials and stylized lettering
  4. Combination of colors
  5. The shape of goods or their packaging
  6. Sound marks including musical jingles and slogans
  7. Trade dress including the overall appearance and packaging of a product or service
  8. Holograms
  9. Position marks including the placement or arrangement of a mark on a product or packaging
  10. Series of trademarks

What Can't Be Registered as a Trademark?

In India, the following types of marks cannot be registered as trademarks:

  1. Generic terms or common names that cannot function as a source identifier
  2. Descriptive terms that merely describe the goods or services
  3. Marks that are likely to deceive or cause confusion among consumers
  4. Marks that are offensive or contrary to public policy or morality
  5. Marks that are identical to existing registered trademarks or well-known marks
  6. Marks that are similar to geographical names or indications
  7. official symbols, emblems and flags
  8. Marks that are identical or similar to national or international non-proprietary names or indications
  9. Names of international intergovernmental organizations
  10. Marks that are identical or similar to the names of international non-proprietary names of pharmaceuticals and pesticides
  11. Marks that are identical or similar to the names of international non-proprietary names of chemical elements

Types of Trademarks in India

In India, there are several types of trademarks that can be registered, each with its own unique characteristics and requirements.

Ordinary marks

These are the most common type of trademarks and include words, logos, and device marks. They are used to distinguish the goods or services of one person from those of others. An ordinary mark can be a word, a device, a label, a ticket, a name, a signature, a word, a letter, a numeral or any combination thereof.

Service marks

These marks are used to distinguish services rather than goods and are registered in the same way as ordinary marks. A service mark is used to identify and distinguish the services of one person from those of others. Services can include anything from advertising to transport.

Collective marks

These marks are used by members of a group or association to indicate that the goods or services they provide meet certain standards. Collective marks are used by groups of people such as manufacturers, traders or service providers who want to indicate a connection between them and the goods or services they provide.

Certification marks

These marks are used by a certifying authority to indicate that the goods or services of a particular person or organization meet certain standards. Certification marks are used to indicate that goods or services conform to certain standards such as quality, accuracy or composition.

Well-known marks

These marks have a reputation or goodwill and are protected under Indian trademark law even if they are not registered. These marks are widely recognized by the public and have acquired a secondary meaning and thus enjoy extensive protection under the Indian trademark law.

Series marks

This type of trademark is used for a series of related goods or services that are similar in nature and possess a common feature. A series mark is used to distinguish a series of related goods or services that have a common feature such as a common design or logo.

It is important to note that the mark should be distinctive and not capable of deceiving the public in order to be registered as a trademark in India. Additionally it should not be similar or identical to any existing registered trademarks. The process of registration can be complex and it is advisable to seek the advice of a legal professional to ensure that your trademark application is properly prepared and filed.

What Steps should be followed for the Trademark registration process in India

The trademark registration process in India typically involves the following steps:

  1. Search and clearance: Conduct a search of existing trademarks to ensure that the proposed mark is not already used or similar to existing trademarks and also find right trademark class for the Service or Good you offer.
  2. Filing of application: File the trademark application with the Indian Trademark Office, along with any necessary documentation, such as proof of use, a representation of the mark, and a power of attorney.
  3. Examination: The Indian Trademark Office will examine the application to ensure that it meets all the requirements for registration. This includes checking for similarity to existing trademarks and ensuring that the mark is not misleading or contrary to public policy.
  4. Publication: If the application is accepted it will be published in the Trademark Journal for a period of four months to allow for any opposition to be filed.
  5. Objection: Any party that believes that the proposed trademark should not be registered can file an objection with the Indian Trademark Office within four months of publication.
  6. Registration: If there are no oppositions, or if the opposition is unsuccessful, the Indian Trademark Office will register the mark and issue a certificate of registration.
  7. Renewal: Trademarks need to be renewed every 10 years in order to maintain their registration.

It is important to conduct proper research, use appropriate documentation, and check for any similarity to existing trademarks to avoid any rejection or opposition during the process.

Additionally it is worth mentioning that Trademark registration in India is not mandatory but it a highly recommended. It provides legal protection to the owner and also helps in preventing others from using the same or similar mark. It also serves as prima facie evidence of the ownership of the mark in case of any legal dispute that arises.


In conclusion, trademark registration is crucial for businesses looking to protect their intellectual property rights and establish a unique identity for their products or services. A registered trademark can help foster brand loyalty by allowing customers to easily associate visual cues with your products. And, Legalraasta Team can help you with the Trademark registration process and make sure that your trademark is properly protected.