As a part of our effort to make the common public more familiar with a local perspective of general business terms and procedures, we have covered registration procedures of companies, partnership firms and patents in the recent past. Moving in the same direction, we’d like to introduce another unit of Intellectual Property (IP) to our readers with this post, viz. Trademarks. (For an understanding of Intellectual Property, you may visit our previous post on Patents or Pakistan’s IP Organization’s official website).
As said, we are going to discuss one of the most asked questions “How to Register a Trademark in Pakistan”. Most of the people are not that much aware of the technicality of a trademark. It is mandatory for all people to know about the importance of trademark in business. Those who are thinking to start a business and to launch some products they definitely need a trademark registration so that people can easily distinguish their product from many other similar products.
If you have a plan to register a company or have already registered company or business and about to launch products or services then you have to register a trademark. There is a complete process of trademark registration which we need to understand. Let’s discuss what is a trademark, importance of trademark in business and what is the procedure involved in trademark registration in Pakistan.
What is Trademark?
A trademark, as defined by Wikipedia, is a recognizable sign, design or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. Used interchangeably with brand, mark, or logo, a trademark can be some sort of unique typographic design or font-based art, imagery, 2D or 3D figure, signature, numerals, etc., or a combination of these.
In Pakistan, Trademarks Registry (TMR) is the federal government body that governs the rules and procedures for registering the Trademarks for different firms and products. The body works under IPO and acts as a Civil Court, and the head-office for TMR is located in Karachi.
Trademark Registration Procedure
The procedure for trademark registration is as follows.
- The applicant applies for a Trademark Search by filling out TM Form 55 and giving the required Trademark. A search is then made by TMR Office to check if a trademark similar to the one being sought already exists.
- If a similar trademark doesn’t exist, the applicant can move on to the next step.
- If a similar trademark is already registered, applicant can give another Trademark for search by filling out another form.
- This trademark search is not mandatory, but is recommended by TMR office to avoid any disputes in the future with matching trademarks.
- After the search is made and does not result in finding a similar Trademark, applicant fills out the Application Form (TM Form 1 or TM Form 2, whichever applies) for the registration. Goods and services for which a trademark can be obtained are divided into several categories known as Classes, the details of which can be viewed here. The application must contain:
- Prescribed Application Form (TM Form 1 or TM Form 2),
- 8 copies of clear reproduction of the Trademark (Word, Symbol, Logo, 3D features etc.),
- A list of goods and services for which the Trademark is being sought,
- Payment to the respective administrator (usually the Director General, IPO – Pakistan).
- An acknowledgment report is sent to the applicant within 15 days of application submission. The applicant is further notified regarding the application via an Examination Report within 3 months of application submission. If there is any objection regarding the Trademark, applicant is notified with a Show Cause notice to which the applicant must respond within 2 months and clarify all objections or the request will be cancelled.
- If there are no objections at this stage, the trademark is published in a monthly digital Journal which is available on IPO’s website.
- The journal is available publicly, and anyone can view the trademarks which have been applied for registration.
- If some party has any objection against a trademark published in the journal, they can seek IPO’s action against it by filling out Form TM-5 or Form TM-8 (whichever applies to the case) to request the launch of an investigation.
- An applicant can submit their defence against opposition notice by filling out Forms TM-6 or TM-9 (whichever applies).
- If no objection is raised within 2 months of the journal publication, the applicant’s request for trademark registration is accepted, and they are instructed via a Demand Notice to pay the registration fee alongside TM Form 11 in order to receive a registration certificate.
- Registration certificate is issued once the final payment is made by the applicant.
- Applicant is responsible for the renewal of trademark every 10 years. Trademarks can be renewed by filling out TM Form 12 alongside making prescribed fee.
Costs for Trademark-related Procedures and Forms
A number of different costs are involved in the process of registering, renewing or modifying a trademark. It is the applicant’s responsibility to make sure that all the costs are paid in full at the time of submission of accompanying application form.
Where to Seek Assistance for Trademark-related Issues
Contact persons at Trademark Registration Office, Pakistan can be reached at their designated phone numbers and e-mail addresses. A list of such contact persons can be found on IPO’s website here.
Generally, law firms and consultants can also be hired to provide assistance in trademark-related procedures.
- All trademark application and procedure-related forms can be found here.
- Trademark-related FAQs and their answers can be found here.
- Monthly trademark journals published by IP Office online can be accessed here.
The information provided in this article has been verified from official sources at the time of publication, and is being presented for the information of our readers on as-is basis. TechJuice.pk cannot be held responsible if some facts and figures change at a later point in time or have been changed without prior notice/updates.