DIGITAL SIGNATURE IN TRADEMARK

DIGITAL SIGNATURE IN TRADEMARK

Abstract

This article talks about the importance and procedure of digital signatures in trademarks. It discusses in detail, the concept of Digital Signature Certificate and its types. It also shreds light on the registration process and importance or benefits of Digital Signature Certificates.  

Introduction

  • Trademarks as we know today, is a kind of intellectual property which has subsisted since ancient times. Back in the day, when trade flourished between India and Iran, the Indian craftsmen inscribed their signature on their arty creations. This signifies the level of understanding and knowledge people had back then, even without modern education and technology, they understood importance of protecting one’s intellectual property. In today’s world, the field of intellectual property is growing more than ever, especially the market of trademarks, with more people realizing is importance and benefits in terms of commercial activities and increased competition.
  • In essence, it is a territorial right and can be defined as, “a sign that individualizes the goods of a given enterprise and distinguishes them from the goods of its competitors.” In simple terms, it is a tool which helps deliver the level of authenticity to the consumer. Furthermore, it simplifies the process of identification of products and services offered by various competitors in the market. The most important attribute of a trademark is that it should be distinctive in nature and not deceptive. Other attributes include, its source, quality, advertising and goodwill.
  • Typically, a trademark consists of designs, words, phrases, letters, slogans, numerals, symbols, sounds, 3D marks, combination of colours, device, etc., for instance, Ford is named after Henry Ford. Moreover, generic terms such as pen, cupcake, fan and software cannot be trademarked because such terms are used to identify the type of good or service, meaning they are not exclusive in nature. Contrary to this, there are certain names which are generic but still have been granted trademark protection, and one such brand is ‘Apple’. The reason behind granting such protection is that it has been granted under the classification of software technology and not foods which the term is generally related to and such marks are known as arbitrary or fanciful marks.
  • there are two symbols, namely; ™ which means Temporary Mark and ® which means Registered Trademark.
  • Trademarks in India are governed by the Trademarks Act, 1999, which provides for various provisions that safeguard “the trademark holder’s rights, confers rights in case of any infringement, modes to transfer the rights, etc.” In addition, it also seeks to provide for the registration of trademarks relating to goods and services in India. These are required to be renewed every 10 years, in case a trademark is not in use for 5 years continuously, it will expire. Interestingly, well-known brands or businesses such as TATA need not register their trademarks, as they are already protected under all the 45 classes as well-known trademarks in India and under the Paris Convention, TRIPS Agreement around the world. Other benefits of trademark registration include, exclusive identity, easy renewal, economical and a business asset.

Territorial Jurisdiction in India

Mumbai Office

Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Goa

Ahmedabad Office

Gujarat, Rajasthan, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli

Kolkata Office

Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Delhi Office

Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Chandigarh

Chennai Office

Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Pondicherry & Lakshadweep

 

Digital Signature Certificate

Digital Signature Certificate or DSC, “an electronically encrypted signature that comes with a verifiable key”, is an important document required while filing for an online trademark registrationapplication. It safeguardsthe form of signature which isessentialfor numerouse-filing applications. Fundamentally, it is a signature but with additional security features, which make it more consistent.In view of the fact, thatit can be verified and is unalterable, it advancesmore convictionand confidence.

DSC and Trademark Registration

  1. Trademarks in India are governed by the Trademark Act, 1999. Additionally, the office of Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks also issues rules and regulations related to filing of a trademark application. But with rapid technological advancements around the world and a tech-savvy future generation, it was necessary to introduce a comprehensive e-filing system. Such a system becomes the need of the hour in today’s world, since the COVID-19 pandemic has forced almost everything to go virtual and IPR filings are no exceptions. Moreover,it promotes transparency and a more much tranquil fashion of granting trademarks and other intellectual property rights.
  2. A “Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate” is an indispensable precondition for filing a trademark application online. Therefore, anyone be it an individual or an attorney or an agent or any organisation,it is mandatory for one to obtain a “Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate” in order toproceed with the online application process. One can obtain a “Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate” through either public or private agencies that have been issued a valid license by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  3. If one already uses a “Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate”, it is not mandatory for him to obtain a new one, rather the same one can be utilized for the purpose of filing a trademark application online.
  4. Another importance question that arises in the mind of the users is that, can one digital signature be used to create multiple login IDs? Well, the answer is no.One cannot create multiple login ID’s using a single DSC, since it is an instrument used to verify the authenticity of the user. Hence, it should only be used by the owner of the digital signature. One should never permit another person to use his digital signatures, as it may cause difficulties and lead to complicated situations.

Types of Digital Signature Certificate

Digital Signature Certificates are of two types namely;

  • Class 2: Under Class 2, “the identity of the person is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database”
  • Class 3: Under Class 3,“the person needs to present himself in front of a Registration Authority (RA) and prove his identity.”

Opting for a Class 3 DSC is much more beneficial, as it comes with validity for either a 1-year time period or a 2-year time period and also provides for the highest level of security. Additionally, it can also be used to apply for e-tender applications, filing IT returns, electronic auctions and other financial events over the internet.

Benefits of Digital Signature Certificate:-

There are several advantages that come along with the usage of a DSC but the most important ones include:

  • High level of security since it is encrypted.
  • It can be verified and is unalterable.
  • It advances more conviction and confidence amongst the users.
  • Privacy and protection are achieved while exchanging confidential information on the internet.
  • Establishes ownership of domain.

References

  1. https://vakilsearch.com/advice/which-class-dsc-is-required-for-trademark-registration/
  2. https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/UsefullDownloads/DSCManual.pdf
  3. https://www.certificate.digital/ipr-trademark-patent/
  4. https://www.makemydigitalsignature.com/digital-signature-certificate-for-trademark-registration.php

BY SALONI SANCHETI