A trademark is a sign or combination of signs that distinguish goods or services of one person or enterprise from those of another. Its origin dates back to ancient times, when craftsmen reproduced their signatures, or "marks" on their artistic or utilitarian products. The first trademark law in India was passed in the year 1940 and was known as the Trade Marks Act, 1940. This law was subsequently replaced by the Trade and Merchandise Act, 1958. Thereafter the Government of India amended this Act in order to bring the Indian trademark law in compliance with its TRIPS obligations. The new Act that was passed was the Trade Marks Act, 1999. This Act came into force in the year 2003. The Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Trade Marks Rules, 2002, presently govern the trademark law in India.
The trademark law in India is a first-to-file system that requires no evidence of prior use of the mark in commerce. A trademark application can be filed on a proposed to be used or intent-to-use basis or based on use of the mark in commerce. The term use under The Trade Marks Act, 1999 has acquired a broad meaning and does not necessarily mean the physical presence of the goods in India. Presence of the trademark on the Internet and publication in international magazines and journals having circulation in India are also considered as use in India.
Last date updated on June, 2014