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The WIPO defines a trademark as a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights.[1]

In the Indian context, the Trade Marks Act of 1999 lays down the definition of a trademark which states that a “certification trade mark” means a mark capable of distinguishing the goods or services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics from goods or services not so certified and registrable as such under Chapter IX in respect of those goods or services in the name, as proprietor of the certification trade mark, of that person.[2]

When one analyses the definition of a trademark, it is amply clear that the fundamental purpose of a trademark is to help ‘distinguish’ between the plethora of goods and services in the market. This distinguishing feature acts as an identity. We could use an analogy of our names and how it helps people around us differentiate between us and other people. It acts as a reference point. This feature of trademarks make it easy for any person to market his goods/ services in the manner that he likes and reach out to the masses. To elucidate with the help of an example, the image of an apple will automatically help one recollect that it belongs to the Apple Inc. Hence, from the seller’s perspective it aids in promoting his goods/services, reinforcing his identity and communicating what they stand for and from the consumer’s perspective it strengthens the process of identifying and decision making.[3] Especially in a monopolistic competition, trademarks can have a huge impact on buying decisions.

Additionally, it adds value to the company. A trademark which has created an impact on the consumers’ mind is likely to act as an asset which can either be retained by the seller or sold off at a particular stage.  With the rapid increase in marketing techniques employed by companies around the world, trademarks play an integral role in creating an emotional and psychological attachment to a particular seller increasing brand loyalty. From an economic point of view, the purpose of a trademark is to protect the goodwill of the goods/ services it relates.[4] Goodwill in simple terms means “[T]endency or likelihood of a consumer to repurchase goods or services based upon the name or source of goods and services.”[5]

To summarize, trademarks protect intellectual creativity, help in easy identification, help in creating brand loyalty and acts as a valuable asset to the seller. In a globally competitive economy, the importance of trademarks is manifold and India has been striving earnestly to keep up with the changing global scenario (especially with the increased dependence on e-markets) by creating a gamut of legal regulations to protect trademarks.

Blog Written By- Ms. Simran Jain

References :

[1] WIPO – http://www.wipo.int/trademarks/en/

[2] The Trade Marks Act, 1999 , Section 2(e)

[3] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235887

[4] WIPO/TM/BEY/03/3, Economic Importance Of Trademarks And Geographical Indications and their Use In Commerce, International Bureau of WIPO, 2003.

[5] Stim, Richard, Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights, West Publishing, Albany etc. 1994, p. 636.

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