July 23, 2022
What is Sound Mark?
Exploration, exploitation and protection of sound markings in India undoubtedly expand the field of branding. Without the exception of sound markings, all trademarks in India are controlled under the Trademark Act, 1999. Businesses can now enjoy greater exclusivity for their musical or cacophonic branding and marketing strategies to entice, attract, and appeal to consumers in today’s highly disruptive market, especially with the explicit recognition of sound as a trademark under the fresh Trade Marks Rules 2017 as issued on 6 March 2017. The 2017 trademark regulations made certain adjustments to the registration process, but most crucially they make it simpler for businesses to apply for the registration of a strong brand.
Sound marks are registrable and deserving of complete protection under the Trade Marks Law if they are distinctive and can serve the function of trademarks, which is to exclusively identify and associate the goods and/or services as coming from a specific undertaking also known as a source identifier. Many sound marks have previously been registered in India, including the Yahoo yodel and the ICICI Bank corporate chink. Both the former and the latter were the first sound marks to be registered in the name of an Indian organization. The first sound mark that was awarded registration in India was the former.
Advantages of a Sound Trademark
- Brand Protection: In this case, the brand is considered what the consumer associated with the business as a whole. The song or music connected to a company is protected by the sound trademark. The entity has the right to file a lawsuit against anybody who infringes such rights when the sound trademark is registered. In the event that a third party makes use of the sound mark without your consent, to counter this you can easily file a lawsuit in the court.
- The Exclusive Usage: The primary advantage of sound trademark registration is that it grants you exclusive rights to the mark, making you the only one in the nation that is able to introduce or market goods or services under the same name brand.
- Exclusiveness is the main benefit of brand registration: According to this, you are the only one in the nation who will advertise or sell goods or services under the same brand name. It is crucial for the prospective growth and success of the business that the brand of the firm is developed early on. A firm legal foundation that is protected by trademark registration is a terrific way to elevate the reputation of your company in the marketplace. These advantages can help you and your company stands out in the competitive, modern corporate environment.
- Builds the company’s reputation:Consumers respond favorably to the sound, jingle, or music connected with a company, which also represents the image of the brand. A company’s jingle or sound is remembered by consumers, which increases the company’s appeal.
- Creating the sound mark: It’s crucial to create the sound mark’s final version before beginning the sound mark registration process. It appeals to consumers and embodies the perception you want your business to have. Following the successful testing of the early prototypes, it will be preferable to conduct focus group testing of the audio recording.
Checklist of a Soundmark
- The sound must be described, for example, by listening to its notes or by the audible counterpart of the sound, including an animal noise.
- The trademark application must clearly declare that it is for the registration of a sound mark in India
- An electronic sound recording in the form of a MP3 file which should not be more than 30 seconds in duration; registration will not be accepted in any other format.
- The sound must be represented graphically in a design or picture, such as a waveform or a note sheet with exact information about where the notes are lying.
Process of Sound Trademark Registration in India
A sound trademark is not defined in the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 (‘Act’). To prevent infringement, it is preferable to register the sound mark if a company’s product has distinctive music and is well-liked by the general public. If you wish to register a sound trademark in India then follow the steps that are given below:
- To begin with, the applicant must establish the “Factual Distinctiveness of the Sound” for each and every sound mark before it can be registered.
2. The business must submit an applicationto the office of the trademark registrar if it desires to register its sound markby the way of filing form TM A available on IP India portal.
3. The applicant must identify the mark in this application as a sound mark; if they do not, it will be assumed that they are referring to another mark or device mark.
4. The graphical representation of the sign by a musical notation expressing the relative value, sharps, flats, etc. should support the sound mark.
5. The aforementioned information must now be added in mp3 format with a sound mark that is no more than 30 seconds in duration on any medium. It aids the registrar in repeatedly reproducing the sound for a thorough examination procedure.
6. If the registrar is dissatisfied with the sound mark, they may require more information from the applicant and additional supporting documents.
7. The sound mark will also be registered and protected if it has a distinct tone and does not overlap with any other sound marks already in use.
Documents Required to register a Sound Trademark
The registration process in India requires the following documents:
- Name and Address of the Applicant.
- In case of a Partnership firm, LLP – Name of the firm with Partner’s Names.
- Applicant’s signed power of attorney, if the application is filed through an Attorney.
- Udhyam Aadhar/ MSME certificate in case of a small enterprise and DIPP Certificate in case of a start up in order to claim waiver in the government fees.
- Oral and graphical representation of the sound mark.
Examples of Sound Trademarks
There are some examples of the registered sound trademark in India mentioned below:
- The soundtrack for Twentieth Century Fox features the sounds of trumpets, violins, and percussion.
2. The voice uttering Yahoo is known as the “Yodel of Yahoo.”
3. the ICICI bank’s corporate jingle music.
4. When turning on the Nokia cell phone, there is a guitar sound.
5. A.R. Rahman created the Airtel ringtone.
6. The ringing of Britannia Industries’ four bells.
At this moment, several issues might arise that will be dealt with and resolved in the near future due to the dynamic introduction of new legislation providing demonstrable acknowledgment and clarification on sound trademarks. Due to the significant impetus for brand formation in this industry, the legal structure governing such non-traditional trademarks will undoubtedly expand and advance as a result. There is a long and varied background of successes and failures for sound trademarks.
It is crucial to keep in mind that actioning these marks demands a keen eye and perhaps more work than standard trademarking. The payoff, however, is unquestionably worthwhile and multiplies the company’s brand’s reach. Every prosperous and cutting-edge business has registered a sound at least once or twice throughout the course of its existence.
Currently, sounds can be registered as trademarks under The Trade Marks Act, 1999in the same way as logos, brand names, and other non-traditional mark like shape of goods can. Whether a sound is or has become a unique sign connected to one undertaking will determine whether registration of the sound under the Trademark Act is granted.
Yes, the sound mark can be categorized under the trademark. You can file a trademark application in India for a sound that is represented by a series of musical notes. An example of a sound trademark is one that uses sound to serve as the trademark for the sole purpose of clearly identifying the commercial source of goods and services that belong to the rightful owner.
A trademark is a form of Intellectual Property that consists of a recognizable symbol, design or expression that is used to identify goods or services that signifies a single source and set them apart from those offered by other parties. However, copyright can be defined as a sort of Intellectual Property that grants its owner the only authority to reproduce, transmit, modify, exhibit, and perform creative work. Often for a certain period of time. In recent years, the usage of sounds as trademarks has grown significantly. So one can articulate sounds in the trademark category.
In India, you can apply for a trademark with or without words for a sound that is represented by a series of musical notes. In the US, sound trademarks are fairly well-known, and in India, knowledge of sound trademarks is growing quickly. In India, the sound that is visually represented by a succession of musical notes, with or without words, is protectedunder The Trade Marks Act, 1999,.
Since 2017, the usage of sound markings as a branding strategy has been expanding quickly all over the world. An example of a sound trademark is one that uses sound to serve the trademark’s purpose of clearly identifying the commercial source of goods and services. In recent years, the usage of a sound mark as a trademark has grown significantly. It is a distinctive trademark. A product or service’s origin or trade origin can be classified using sounds.