Trademarks are of various types; product marks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks, shape marks, etc. The purpose of the trademark is the same, irrespective of its type. It allows the consumers to distinguish the source of the product/service and assures the quality of the product or service. The basic purpose of all these trademarks is to help customers identify origin and quality of the underlying products or services.
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A trademark may be divided into the following categories:
1. Product Mark:
A product mark is similar to a trademark. The only difference is, it refers to trademarks related to products or goods and not services. It is used to identify the source of a product and to distinguish a manufacturer’s products from others. On the whole, a trademark is an important means to protect the goodwill and reputation of a Business.
The application for the trademark can be filed within few days and “TM” symbol can be used. The time required for trademark registry, to complete formalities is generally around 18 to 24 months. The ® (Registered symbol) can be used next to the trademark once the trademark is registered and registration certificate is issued. Once registered, a trademark will be valid for 10 years from the date of filing, which can be renewed time to time.
So product marks are those that are attached to distinguish the goods or services of one manufacturer from that of another.
2. Service Mark:
A service mark is the same as a trademark, but instead of a particular product, it identifies and differentiates the source of a service. For example, a company such as Yahoo may brand certain products with a trademark, but use a service mark on the internet searching service that it provides. It is denoted by ‘SM’.
A service mark is nothing but a mark that distinguishes the services of one proprietor/owner from that of another. Service marks do not represent goods, but the services offered by the company. They are used in a service business where actual goods under the mark are not traded. Companies providing services like computer hardware and software assembly, restaurant and hotel services, courier and transport, beauty and healthcare, advertising, publishing, etc. are now in a position to protect their names and marks from being misused by others. The rules governing for the service marks are fundamentally the same as any other trademarks.
3. Collective Mark:
These are the trademarks used by a group of companies and can be protected by the group collectively. Collective marks are used to inform the public about a particular characteristic of the product for which the collective mark is used. The owner of such marks may be an association or public institution or it may be cooperative. Collective marks are also used to promote particular products which have certain characteristics specific to the producer in a given field. Thus, a collective trademark can be used by a more than one trader, provided that the trader belongs to the association.
The trader associated with a particular collective mark is responsible for ensuring the compliance with certain standards which are fixed in the regulations concerning the use of the collective mark, by its members. Thus, the purpose of the collective mark is to inform the public about certain features of the product for which the collective mark is used. One example of the collective mark is the mark “CPA”, which is used to indicate members of the Society of Certified Public Accountants.
4. Certification Mark:
It is a sign indicating that the goods/services are certified by the owner of the sign in terms of origin, material, quality, accuracy or other characteristics. This differs from a standard trademark whose function is to distinguish the goods/services that originate from a single company.
In short, certification marks are used to define the standard. They guarantee the consumers that the product meets certain prescribed standards. The occurrence of a certification mark on a product indicates that the product has gone through the standard tests specified. They guarantee the consumers that the manufacturers have gone through an audit process to ensure the desired quality of the product/service. For example, Food products, Toys, Cosmetics, Electrical goods, etc. have such marking that specifies the safety and the quality of the product.
5. Shape marks:
According to the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999, a trademark may also include the shape of goods, their packaging, so long as it is possible to graphically represent the shape clearly. This helps in distinguishing the goods sold under such trademark from those of another manufacturer. The new Trade Marks Ordinance (Cap. 559) continues to allow registration of such marks.
When the shape of goods, packaging have some distinctive feature it can be registered. For example, Ornamental Lamps. In certain cases, the (three-dimensional) shape of a product or packaging can be a trademark (for example a specially designed bottle of perfume).
In a nutshell, Shape Mark has facilitated promotion of products and emerged into the trademark type after the technological advancement of graphics. Any graphical representation which is able to make a difference amongst the products can be shape marked.
6. Pattern Mark:
These are the marks consisting of a pattern which is capable of identifying the goods or services as originating from a particular undertaking and thus distinguishing it from those of other undertakings. Such goods/services are registrable as Pattern Marks.
The procedure of evaluating uniqueness of pattern marks is same as that of other types of marks. Pattern marks that are descriptive or indistinctive are objectionable because they fail to serve as an identifier of trade source. Such goods/services would not be accepted for registration without evidence of uniqueness. In cases where the pattern mark has become identified in the minds of the public with a particular undertaking’s goods or services, it receives acquired distinctiveness and can register for Pattern Mark.
Thus, Pattern Trademark is a trademark wherein the pattern is able to distinguish the product from other brands.
7. Sound Mark:
Sometimes, the sound that plays in the advertisement becomes so well known that when people hear it they immediately know what product/service it refers to. In such cases, the sound may be regarded as a trademark and is eligible for registration.
A sound mark is a trademark where a particular sound does the function of uniquely identifying the origin of a product or a service. In the case of sound marks, a certain sound is associated with a company or its product or services – for example, the MGM’s roar of a lion.
The sound logo, technically referred to as audio mnemonic, is one of the tools of sound branding, along with the brand music. A sound logo is a short distinctive melody mostly positioned at the beginning or end of a commercial. It can be seen as the acoustic equivalent of a visual logo. Often a combination of both types of the logo is used to enforce the recognition of a brand.
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