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What are Trademarks?

Trademarks serve as visual representations of a brand’s identity and reputation. They enable consumers to make informed choices by recognising and distinguishing products or services from those of competitors. 

When customers see a familiar and trusted trademark, they feel confident in their purchase, knowing that they will receive the quality and experience associated with that particular brand.

The Trademarks Act, 1999

In India, the protection of trademarks is governed by the Trademarks Act of 1999. This legislation ensures that businesses have exclusive rights over their trademarks, granting them legal recourse if others attempt to use or imitate their distinctive marks without authorisation.

Duration and Renewal

Once a trademark is registered, it is protected for a period of ten years. However, the trademark owner has the option to renew the registration indefinitely. Renewing the trademark secures its continued protection, ensuring the brand’s long-term identity and market presence.

Passing Off Action

Under the Trademarks Act, a ‘passing off’ action can be initiated if someone uses a trademark in an unauthorised manner, leading to confusion among consumers. This action allows the rightful owner to take legal action against those attempting to mislead the public by passing off their goods or services as those of the established brand.

Trademark Categories

Trademarks can be in various forms, including:

Note: Access complete CLAT Legal Reasoning notes here.

  • Word Marks: These consist of words or letters, such as brand names or slogans.
  • Logo Marks: These are graphical representations or symbols used to identify a brand.
  • Combination Marks: These include both word elements and a graphical representation.
  • Service Marks: These identify services rather than physical products.

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