Trademarks are brand identifiers that influence customer behaviour. Logos and symbols, shapes, words, series, etc. are the different kinds of trademarks . Let’s take a more detailed look at what sets one apart from the other.
The types of trademarks a brand owns help consumer recognise the brand. Trademarks serve as brand indicators that customers look at when they decide to purchase a product or a service. They are also regarded as intellectual property rights which are protected under the Trademark Act of 1999. Such is the power of a trademark that customers usually use the brand names to refer to the product or service offered. For instance, while searching for something on the internet, you could say ‘Let me Google that!’ or, when you book a cab you could say, ‘I am booking an Uber’. This article explains the different types of trademarks in India. Read on to find out what they are.
What are the different types of trademarks in India? Let’s look at some examples
In India, there are seven types of trademarks recognised under the Trademark Act of 1999. We take a look at each of these seven, along with examples, below:
- Word Marks
The most common kind of trademark registered in India is the word mark. This trademark refers to any specific words used to identify a product or a service provided by a company. So, if the name of the product or service you are offering contains only letters or text, you can register it as a word mark trademark. The texts ‘Nestle’ or ‘Maggi’ are good examples of word marks.
- Service Marks
A service mark is another kind of trademark. Companies that provide certain, specific services as their primary business can be differentiated by the services they provide and the marks that represent their brands. For instance, the words ‘Swiggy’ and ‘Zomato’ represent two brands in the restaurant-service industry, but are differentiated by their services; wherein the former is a restaurant aggregator, the latter is both an aggregator and an information provider.
- Logos and Symbols
Several brands use printed designs and characters that may not necessarily consist of letters, words, numbers, etc. The consumer can identify the brand even if the brand name is not mentioned. For instance, any wrist-watch enthusiast in India can identify the brand Titan merely by looking at the logo, — even if the brand name is not mentioned on the product.
- Shapes of Goods
The shapes of goods trademark can help you identify a product by its shape. This type of trademark is typically categorised under the trade -dress clause. It deals with the appearance of the product, apart from the label or logo. For instance, you can easily recognise the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle – which is unique when compared to other beverages – even if the label is distorted or faded.
- Series Marks
A series mark is a type of trademark which typically has a common syllable or number as a prefix or a suffix. This trademark denotes a family of marks that share the same common name. The products differ only as non-distinctive characters such as size, price, quality, etc. For instance, – Chanel has several series marks for its perfume, such as Chanel Number 5, Number 18, Number 19, Number 22, etc. Similarly, ‘Mc’ is used as a prefix for McDonald’s products like McVeggie Burger, McFlurry, McPizza Puff etc.
- Collective Trademarks
The types of trademarks which are linked to a group of people, and not to a specific product or service, are known as collective trademarks. Organisations, associations, and institutes typically own these trademarks. Members of the organisations use collective trademarks to represent themselves. For instance, Chartered Accountants can use the ‘CA’ collective trademark.
- Certification marks
A trademark that shows a specific quality standard met by a company is known as a certification mark. This trademark indicates that the company providing the trademark has been duly certified and proven to adhere to a particular standard. Common examples of certification marks in India include the ISI mark, the gold hallmark, and the FSSAI certification mark.
Final note: As is apparent, there are several different kinds of trademarks that brands can consider. Registering for trademarks enables their owners to gain an exclusive monopoly over their brands. It also helps a customer distinguish one brand from another and choose the ones they prefer.