Why Trademark or intellectual property is so critical for Startups?

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Intellectual Property (IP) are those properties which make references to the creations of the human minds for which complete rights are identified. Innovators, creators, artists and business owners are allowed/granted certain exclusive rights to various intangible assets for a given time period.

For instance:

  • Business owners are allowed some exclusive rights on the utilization of their trademarks and geographical indications which were established by the business owners
  • Creative artists are given copyrights on musical, literary, dramatic and artistic works for their creations and
  • Innovators are given protection for their patents, industrial designs, trade secrets, and designs of integrated circuits for their creations.

Types of Intellectual Property (IP)

  • Copyright– This is a legal term which is used to describe the rights that the creators have over their work.
  • Patents– This is a special right granted for an invention. Generally, a patent provides the owner with the right to decide how or whether the invention can be used by others or not.
  • Trademarks– This is a sign which has the potential to distinguish the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other the other business organizations. Trademark registration was used in ancient times when the creators used to put their signature or “unique mark” on their products.
  • Industrial Design– An industrial design constitutes the decorative or attractive aspect of an article. A design may consist of 3-D attributes, such as the shape or surface of an object, or of two-dimensional features like patterns, lines, dots or color etc.
  • Geographic Indications– Geographical indications of origin are special signs used on goods that have a particular geographical origin and possess qualities of that region, a reputation, and features that are important attributable to that place of origin. Commonly, a geographical indication has the name of the place of origin of the goods.

Importance of IP(Intellectual Property) for Start-ups

When entrepreneurs begin on their unique business idea, they have no doubt that their idea would be a commercial success in the market; their main focus is initially to start giving the appearance to the venture.

In the middle of so many different things that go into starting and building a startup from a single idea, the word ‘Intellectual Property’ (IP) is generally not just their main focus. And even if they think about IP protection, it seems to be too costly for a startup to work on.

Entrepreneurs should remember that evaluating IP implications is not just about protecting the work you are doing but, it is also very essential to check whether someone else has an IP for the same work. Very often, there could be people in different parts of the world working on the same idea.

Importance of IP protection

In today’s competitive and fast growing environment, IP can be a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the goods or services which will help to create a sustainable and protective differentiator for the company.

By owning an IP, a high obstruction is created, thereby helping you to develop your venture faster and more efficiently. IP is always given high weightage by the investors and therefore, it creates a good reputation for your venture. Moreover, IP has been identified as the main ingredient for startups across the world to get a competitive benefit in the market.

IP presume even greater importance for technology startups, where new innovations are being made almost every day. There is a very significant brand value devoted to IP, in both the manufacturing and technology fields. It gives creators, clients, and other stakeholders a great sense of confidence in your dedication, passion, and commitment to not just succeed, but also become a market leader in your field of business.

There are three significant ways in which a startup can protect its intellectual property:

1) Patents
2) Trademarks
3) Copyrights 

Intellectual property is an asset for it’s the creator and has a commercial value with it.

Protecting IP requires power, idea, and strategy. In many situations, it may be feasible to seek a trademark protection or simply conserve through a trade secret. This can be done by investing in the marketing and generating a recall between the product and the owner. There are various different strategies which are available for different type goals and ideas. Intellectual property can be very valuable for a start-up. If IP is correctly and strategically conserved, it can take the valuation of a company to a completely another level.

If someone else happens to do so before you, then you are likely to be out of the competition even if you had started working on the idea first.

What is difference between Trademarks, Copyright and Patent (other intellectual property)?

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The term Intellectual Property (IP) introduces to a number of rare kinds of creations of the mind for which a number of unique rights are recognized. Owners are given clear cut, unique rights to a host of intangible assets, which can be literary, artistic or musical works, sports, discoveries, inventions, designs, symbols, words, and even phrases. A few examples of ordinary kinds of intellectual property are trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Intellectual property rights are more significant since they guard the rights of the owners of intellectual property to make money from their own created property, thus challenging others to come up with intellectual property of their own.

The differences amongst various Intellectual Properties are listed here under:


Trademarks are unique symbols or signs that individuals, an organisation, or other legal entities use. They use these unique symbols or signs to broadcast their services or products to the consuming public that are joint with the trademarks stem from a distinctive source. Trademarks are also used to distinguish services or goods from those of other legal entities. Trademarks are generally labeled by three different symbols based on whether they are unregistered, registered, or simply unregistered service marks. If trademark violations occur, owners of a registered trademark have the option of registering a lawsuit to clear off any unauthorized usage of the trademark the owner owns. Generally, trademarks can be symbols, logos, names, phrases, words, images, designs, or even a mix of any of these elements.


A copyright is the best thought of as a group of unique rights that are bestowed upon the creator of an original work. This includes the transformation of the work, the circulation of the work, and the actual copying of the work. It is very important to comprehend that a copyright does not guard the ideas, but only their expression. Owners of copyrights have unique rights to copy and other advantages of their work, but only for a limited period of time, after which the copyright expires, bringing the work into the public domain. At the beginning, copyright law was only applicable for books, but this soon continued to derivative works and other translations. Today, a copyright is applicable to a big variety of works like music, maps, paintings, dramatic works, sound recordings, photographs, computer programs, and motion pictures.

Trade Secret

A trade secret can be a practice, process, formula, pattern, design, or a compilation of information which is not well-known or possibly attainable. A trade secret is also generally something by which an organization can get an economic profit over its competitors or its consumers. Two other expressions for trade secrets are classified information and confidential information. The significant part of a trade secret is based on these three factors. The three factors are the secret information which is not generally available to the general public, the broadcasting of a kind of economic profit to its share holders, and being subjected to demonstrable efforts to have its mystery maintained. Companies can guard themselves from their trade secrets being compromised by ensuring they have non-disclosure or non-compete provisions with their employees.


A patent is characterized as a group of unique rights that a national government delivers to either an inventor or whom the owner has assigned for a limited period of time, provided that he publically admits the invention. In most cases, an application for a patent has to include a claim that characterizes the invention. Invention has to be industrially applicable, useful, new, useful, and non-obvious to the general public. Patent rights means that other people are not allowed to use, make, sell, or distribute the invention without any prior permission of the inventor or the owner. If a current patent happens to fall within the range of an earlier patent, then that proprietor does not have the exclusive rights to use the patented invention

How can I apply for Trademark Registration?

Steps to Apply for Trademark Registration in India

1. Conduct a Trademark search

  • Find a suitable and unique Trademark for your company. Avoid similarities with other organizations and companies. Trademark Search can be performed at Munim Footer.

2. Identify

  • Identify the class of your services and goods. A total of forty five classes have been prescribed that covers almost every aspect of work.

3. File the application

  • File the application with the prescribed fees. You can file your form online as well as offline.

  • To ease up your work you can take help from us. Our team can help you with the Trademark registration online.

4. Trademark’s journal

  • After verification your trademark will be published in Trademark’s journal. This gives general public to object. That is if they have any issues with your Trademark.

5. Certificate is issued

Trademark Rules 2017: A Significant Leap

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The Government of India in its initiative to draft a new set of rules which are in calibration with the aim of fastening the procedure of trademark filing in India and scraping out the possibilities of delays in this procedure. A notification regarding the draft rules for Trademarks was published by the Government of India in November 2015 inviting objections and suggestions.

After a thorough study of all such suggestions and objections, the Central Government has framed the Trademark Rules 2017, thereby replacing the Trademark Rules 2002. These rules came into effect on 6th of March 2017.

In order the achieve its objectives, these are the major changes brought in by the Government of India:


The foremost major that has been brought in by the Trademark Rules, 2017 is that now there is a clear categorization of the applicants and the fees will be charged as per the applicant’s category, the categories are:

A) Individual/Start-up/ Small Enterprise : In the new rules they have specifically defined what would constitute a start-up and a small-enterprise. The definitions for the same have been given in Rule 2 (v) and (x).

START UP- “the enterprise engaged in the manufacture or production of goods, where the investment in plant and machinery does not exceed the limit of INR 10,00,00,000 (Rs 10 Crore) and in case of an enterprise engaged in providing or rendering of services, where the investment in equipment is not more than the limit of INR 5,00,00,000 (Rs  5 Crore)”

SMALL ENTERPRISE-“an entity, incorporated or registered in India, not prior to five years, with annual turnover not exceeding INR 25,00,00,000 (Rs 25 Crore) in any preceding financial year and working towards innovation, development, deployment or commercialization of new products, processes or services driven by technology or intellectual property. However, if any entity formed by splitting up, or reconstruction, of a business already in existence, it will not be considered as a startup and also, an entity shall cease to be a Startup if its turnover for the previous financial years has exceeded INR 25 crore or it has completed 5 years from the date of incorporation/registration. A Startup needs to obtain certification from the Inter-Ministerial Board.”


In order to digitalize the entire trademark process, every applicant is required to provide a valid e-mail address along with the postal address in India. The new rules particularly Rules 14, 17 and 18 specifically talk about services via e-mail. The aim is to make the entire trademark registration process virtual.


The 2017 rules have increased the application fees substantially. Majorly all applications/request fees have been increased by 100%. However, a concession on fees of 10% is available in case of E-Filing for promoting E-filings.

Moreover, the categorization of the applicant has also been used to determine the Fees. For example, the Applicants of Category A as above, are being charged Rs 4500 as Application for Trademark Registration.


The biggest change is in the reduction of forms. Earlier there were a total of 74 forms relating to trademark applications/request and now it has been reduced to a total of 8 forms.


Now with the new rules an application can be made for declaring your trademark as well-known trademark. The registrar on receiving such request will call for oppositions within 30 days. Incase it is established to be well-known publication for the same will be made in the trademark journal and it will be included in the well-known trademark list.


The new rules have provided an application for registering sound marks and 3-D marks as trademark. This is a very big change as sound marks and 3-D marks are now capable of being registered and can be called as trademark.


Another major change brought about in the new Rules is the provision for expedited processing; the entire trademark procedure can be expedited. Under this, the entire procedure including examination, reviewing of reply to examination report, appointment of hearings, advertisement, and opposition, until final disposal of the application would be fast-tracked.


This is another change which is brought in for promoting digitalization, now hearings of various trademark applications can be done through video-conferencing or through any other audio-visual communication devices and this shall be deemed to have taken place at the appropriate office.


Limitation on adjournments for any hearing or decision had been made to two and this adjournment should not exceed 30 days.


The new rules have extended the renewal time from 6 months to one year. Now renewal of a mark can be done 1 (one) year prior to the expiration of its registration.


The new rules have become little stringent for filing evidence in opposition proceedings. Now delay in such filing will not be accepted whereas in the old rules extension of one month along with respective fees was given.


The new rules have now affixed a few of INR 9000 for all assignment of registered trademark irrespective of the fact whether assignment request is made within 6 months/12 months/after 12 months from the date of assignment.

These changes are substantial changes which will help the system for Trademark Registration in India function more effectively and smoothly. These changes will definitely simplify the entire Trademark Process and encourage more businesses to get their trademarks registered.

What you Do not know about Trademark, Why Trademark Registration?

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Even if you don’t realize it, everyone deals with trademarks on a daily basis. “Trademark” is another way of referring to brands.

Consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by trademarks and the reputation such brands represent. It is important for business people to have an understanding of why trademarks are important assets and help grow their business. 

Trademarks are an effective Communication Tool.

In a single brand or logo, trademarks can convey intellectual and emotional attributes and messages about you, your company, and your company’s reputation, products and services. Your trademark doesn’t need to be a word. Designs can be recognized regardless of language or alphabet. The Puma design is recognized globally, regardless of whether the native language is Hindi, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Arabic or English.

Trademarks make it easy for Customers to find You.

The marketplace is crowded and it’s hard to distinguish your business from your competitors. Trademarks/brands are an efficient commercial communication tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out. Customers viewing a trademark immediately know who they are dealing with, the reputation of your business and are less likely to look for alternatives. Your brand could be the critical factor in driving a customer’s purchase decision.

Trademarks Allow Business to effectively Utilize the Internet and Social Media

Your brand is the first thing customers enter into a search engine or social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) when looking for your products and services. Higher traffic on a website or social media platform translates into higher rankings, bringing even more traffic, more customers and more brand recognition.

Trademarks are a Valuable Asset

Trademarks can appreciate in value over time. The more your business reputation grows, the more valuable your brand will be. Trademarks provide value beyond your core business. Trademarks  can lead the way for expansion from one industry to another, such as from personal care to clothing or eye ware. If you desire it, your trademark can lead to the acquisition of your business by a larger corporation. Trademarks are a property asset, similar to real estate, that can be bought, sold, licensed (like renting or leasing) or used as a security interest to secure a loan to grow your business.  

Trademarks cab make Hirining Easier

Brands can inspire positive feelings in people’s minds. As a result, employment opportunities are more attractive to candidates. Employee retention can be higher if employees have positive feelings for the brand and the products and services offered.

Trademarks are a bargain to obtain

Trademark Application Fees is just Rs 4500 for Individual, Small Company, LLP, Partnership. Thus, it is just a matter of few buck and a protection to your Brand.

Trademarks never Expire

Your trademark will not expire as long as you are using it and renewing it with Authorities after every 10 years. 

Brands are a critical asset. Do your due diligence before investing a lot of time and money in launching a new brand and most important is Naming your New Brand. Be sure the brand fits your company. Obtain a clearance search to make sure your new brand is available and doesn’t infringe on anyone’s prior rights.

Keep in mind that the more you differentiate your brand from others in your industry, the easier it’ll be to protect. Choose a name and logo that distinctly identify your business and will protect it from competitors. Utmost importance is Check Trademark (Munim.in Footer Trademark Seatch) availability before starting the brand building exercise. 

Munim.in is an online marketplace for services like Company Registration, Trademark Registration, LLP Registration etc. Munim.in connects Service Seeker with the verified Professionals and allows placement of order through the platform to avail Munim Guarantee.