The term ‘objected’ implies that the particular trademark application has been examined and a report generated as well, laying down the objections against the registrability of the mark.

Once a trademark application is filed, the first step in its journey to registration would be examination of the said trademark. Examination of a trademark means that the mark would be checked to see if it complies with the relevant provisions of the Trademarks Act and is fit to be registered.

In general, the two main provisions of the Trademarks Act which come into play at this stage are Section 9 and 11 of the Act (called absolute and relative objections respectively). These Sections, broadly speaking, lay down that a trademark should either be inherently distinctive (and not similar to any earlier existing mark) or should have ‘acquired distinctiveness’ through its usage.

Hence the Examiner would analyze the trademark in question (primarily in light of the two aforementioned sections) and generate a report mentioning the objections if any and also list similar/identical third party marks if any, during which the status would reflect “ objected ”

Once the online status reflects “ objected ,” the next step to be taken by the applicant is to obtain the examination report and respond to the same, elucidating how the objections are not tenable. Earlier, examination reports were sent by post either to the applicant’s or his agent’s address. But now with digitization and automation, the procedure has become simpler and we can directly download examination reports from the website of the Trademark Office.

Most important, the time period within which an examination report is to be responded to, is one month from the date of receipt of the said report and failure to do so, would, as per law, deem the application as abandoned.

This step of overcoming objections is quite crucial for registration of a trademark. Hence it is quite imperative that the response to the objections is clear and also incontrovertibly establishes the distinctiveness of the mark, thereby showing that it is fit to be registered.

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Raja Selvam

Founder & Managing Attorney, Selvam & Selvam | Practice areas include Trademarks, Patents, Domain names & Business law. Visiting faculty, Department of Journalism, Madras University where I teach copyrights & trademarks law. Passionate about entrepreneurship, start-ups, stocks, farming, technology and law.