Trademark is a sign, design or expression in the form of a name, word, logo, phrase etc. that is used to identify products and services of one party from others. The main purpose of trademark is to give an indication about the quality of the products and its origin, to the purchaser. For maintaining the unique identity of a product or service, it is essential to protect its trademark from being copied. Through a registered trade mark, one can protect their brand by restricting other people from using its name or logo. Once acquired, a trade mark can last indefinitely as long as you renew it every 10 years. Because a registered trade mark is a form of IP, you can license or assign it to others. For providing advice in the field of trademark, there are trained and qualified persons named Trademark attorney/ Trademark agents. Trademark Attorney Trademark attorneys are legal practitioners who specializes in trademark matters. These professionals will have extensive knowledge about the law of trademark dealing with the mechanism of registration, protection of trademark and prevention of fraudulent trademark. Trademark attorneys provide awareness to the trademark owners about the importance of trademark registration and gives information about its validity. They deals with all legal aspects of filing an application for the registration of the trademark and also appear for the court cases relating to trademark. The law also states the rights acquired by registration of trademark, modes of transfer and assignment of the rights, nature of infringements, penalties for such infringement and remedies available to the owner in case of such infringement. The duties and tasks performed by Trademark Attorney involves: • Helping companies on selecting a new trademark for businesses • Ensuring that the chosen trademark has not been registered for another business or do not infringe the rights of any other person • Help in drafting and filing applications for registering the new trademark and providing legal support on the registration, use and exploitation of existing trademarks • Communicate with Indian trademark registry on behalf of the clients for the registration procedures. • Helps to ensure that an application is properly registered with the applicable trademark office • In case if someone makes any trademark infringement or violation, trademark attorney help their clients by sending a cease and desist letter. How to Become a Trademark Attorney Education and Personal Requirements An advocate with membership in state bar council can practice as a Trademark Attorney before the Trade Mark Registry of India. The minimum educational requirement to become an advocate is LL.B. from any recognized Law School. Those who have passed 10+2 can go for 5 year L.L.B course and those with graduation or post graduation in any stream can pursue 3 year L.L.B. Selection to the L.L.B courses are made on the basis of CLAT (Common Law Admission Test), conducted annually. CLAT consists of questions from the topics such as Legal Aptitude, Logical Reasoning, English including Comprehension, General Knowledge/Current Affairs, and Elementary Mathematics. One can enroll as an advocate in any of the State Bar Council, after obtaining their LLB degree. The attorney must be registered to practice trademark laws before the IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board) of the Trademark office and must also be registered to practice law in at least one of the states in India. He must also have passed the IPAB Trademark Law Bar Exam. Many attorneys may also have technical engineering degrees and they can practice law outside the trademark office. Trademark Agents Trademark Agents are non-lawyer professionals qualified to perform trademark services. One can become a Trademark agent by passing the qualifying examination (Trademark Agents Examination under the Trade Marks Act, 1999) and the subsequent interview conducted by the Trademarks Registry of India. The qualifying marks for the Trademark Agents written Examination and for interview shall be forty per cent and sixty per cent out of 100 respectively and a candidate shall be declared to have passed the examination only if he obtains an aggregate of fifty per cent of the total marks. They are registered to practice trademark law before the IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board) of the trademark office. Before entering private trademark practice, they have to serve four years or more as a IPAB trademark examiner. Those who have passed the examination conducted by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and having the license to practice as Company Secretary are permitted to represent their clients before the Trademarks Registry. They are not supposed to appear for the Trademark Agent examination. A Trademark Agent may draft and file a trademark application and conduct business with the Indian IPAB or Trademark Office. Once the trademark application has been placed, the agent may track the life of the application. Trademark attorney can represent the application in court also. Trademark agents can do similar work as that of Trademark Attorney, except representing their clients in the court. A person without a law degree shall be qualified to register as a trade marks agent if he/she: • Is a citizen of India. • Has completed the age of 21 years. • Graduated from any recognized university in India or possess an equivalent qualification • Has passed the Trademark Agent Examination conducted by the Trademarks Registry (The examination will take place once in a year. The written exam will be for 150 marks and consists of questions from Trademark Laws and Practice and from the Trademark Act and Rules. The candidates who are eligible will also called for a viva voce for 50 marks) • Member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (not required to appear the trademark agent examination) The registrar will publish the names of qualified person in the register of trademark agents along with the address of the place of residence, address of the principal place of business, the nationality, qualifications and date of registration. The registrar may then publish in the Journal a code of conduct for registered trademarks agent authorizing them to act as such. Trademark attorney and Trademark agent are required to know everything regarding trademark law, which offers instruction and guidance regarding the creation, registration, utilization, and protection of every trademark within the specified country. With the increase in trademark filing in India, market requires more trademark professionals. Personal Attributes Needed Good interpersonal skills, Client management, team management and case management and case analysis capabilities are the essential requirements needed for trademark attorneys and agents. As they have to communicate directly with clients, they should possess excellent written and verbal communication skills, solutions and implementation to various problem and requests, etc. Job Prospects With the increase in trademark filing in India, ample job opportunities are available for Trade Mark Agents/Attorneys in Intellectual Property Law Firms as well as in Corporate Organizations. There a re several law firms in India, which deals with matters especially in intellectual properties such as of trademark, patents, copyrights, geographical indications and industrial designs. Multinational companies hire efficient trademark attorneys for obtaining assistance and guidance in matters relating to trademarks of the company. One can also choose channels like in-house advisors for different organizations or start their own attorney firms and consultancy services. Fee for Trademark attorney/ Trademark agents Remuneration of a Trademark attorney/ Trademark agents depends entirely upon his/her services. They can charge fees for drafting and filing of application for registration of trademarks and for any cases related to trademarks. Trade attorneys can charge high fees since they can negotiate contracts and represent their clients in court. In India, the salary of Trademark attorney varies from Rs. 3lakhs to Rs.15 lakhs per annum. Trademark agents can also earn a good figure.