A Trademark in India will not be registered in India when there is an existence of absolute or relative grounds.
The absolute and relative grounds for denial of Trademark registration in India are as below :
Absolute Grounds For Denial of Trademark Registration 
  1. trademark is  devoid of any distinct character; or
  2. a trademark which consists exclusively of marks or indications which may serve in trade to designate the kind, quality, purpose, values, geographical origin or the time of production of goods or rendering of services or other characteristics of the goods or service; or
  3. trademark which consist exclusively of marks or indications which have become customary in the current language or in the bonafide and established practices of the trade;

A mark will not be registered as a trademark if:
  1. it deceives the public or causes confusion; or 
  2. it contains or comprises of such matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities; or
  3. it contains scandalous or obscene matter; or
  4. its use is prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950.

The provision further provides that a mark will not be registered as a trademark if it consists exclusively of:

  1. the shape of goods which results from the nature of the goods themselves; or
  2. the shape of goods which is necessary to obtain a technical result; or
  3. the shape which gives substantial value to the goods

Relative Grounds For Denial of Trademark Registration  


  1. where a trademark has an identity with an earlier trademark and similarity of goods and services; or
  2. where the trademark  has a similarity to an earlier trade mark; or
  3. where the identity or similarity of the goods and services, there is the likelihood of confusion.

Section 11 of the Trade Marks Act provides that an exhaustive list of relative grounds for refusal of registration of the trademark.

It further provides that a trademark may not be registered which is identical with or similar to an earlier trademark. 
It also provides that a trademark may not be registered if its use in India is liable to be prevented by virtue of any law.
AMLEGALS helps business houses to protect their trademark with advice, monitoring, and litigation services. For more information on TM and IPR Laws, please connect with us on info@amlegals.com 

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