Soundtrack Registration

In India, a sound that is graphically represented by a succession of musical notes with or without words can be protected under the Trademark Act. The registration of a sound under the Trademark Act will depend on if the sound is or has become a distinctive sign associated with one undertaking. Hence, for a sound trademark to be registered, it is important for the average consumer to perceive the sound as belonging to a service or product associated with one enterprise.

Benefits of Sound Mark Registrations

  1. Brand Protection: Sound Trademark assurance, provides the right to claim anyone who violates those rights. If a third party handles the sound mark without approval, you can easily file a lawsuit for the infringement.
  2. Exclusive rights to the mark: The principal advantage of registering a brand is exclusivity. This indicates that you will be the only person in the country who announces or sells the products or services with the same brand name.
  3. Developing the brand of the company: At an early stage is very essential for the potential development and success of the business. These benefits can support you and your business to make your sound mark in today’s global, corporate world.
  4. Developing the sound mark: It is important to develop a final version of the sound mark. It resonates well with the consumers and reflects the image you want your brand to convey. And check whether the sound should be the same at every touch point or should be adapted to reflect different needs.

Sound Mark Registration Process in India

The applications for registration of sound marks are processed similar to other trademark applications filed at the Indian Trade Marks registry. 

In addition to the necessary particulars such as the name of the Applicant, address of the applicant, the legal status of the applicant entity (if any), class of goods/services, specification of goods/services, etc.], one of the important factors while filing a trademark application is the date of the earliest use of such sound mark. 

Since the nature of sounds is such that the distinctive element could be relatively easily proven through acquired distinctiveness (by way of the use of the sound mark), the availability of any documentary evidence to show the use of the mark at the time of filing the application will be beneficial.

Further, as regards the next steps in the processing of a trademark application, we note that applications for sound mark registrations are more closely scrutinized (in comparison to other marks) owing to their unique nature. However, as long as the trademark application adheres to all statutory requirements, the application would proceed further. The next steps as regards publication and grant of registration are the same as any other trademark application.

Documents required for registering a sound mark

These documents are required for registering the sound mark in India:

  1. The written description and graphical representation of the sound mark mention the musical notes written in the stave, Clef (a musical symbol used to mention the pitch of the written notes), their relative value, sharps, and flats.
  2. The mp3 clip of the claimed sound mark, not longer than 30 seconds, should be uploaded on electronic gadgets like CD, DVD, etc.

Some well-known examples of the registered sound marks are:

  • Audi’s heart-beat sound logo
  • Mcdonald’s sound mark “I’m lovin’ it”
  • Nokia and Samsung (switching on device sound)
  • Britannia (four-note bell sound)
  • Yahoo (human voice saying hello)
  • Airtel ringtone

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