Well Known Trademark

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    Well-known trademarks are marks that have achieved significant popularity and recognition among consumers or within a specific industry. They are characterized by extensive use, promotion, and association with quality and unique features. Owners of well-known trademarks hold exclusive rights to use them, and these marks are protected under Section 11(6) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

    According to Section 11(6), a mark is deemed well-known if it is known to a substantial segment of the public that uses the goods or services associated with the mark. This recognition extends beyond just ordinary consumers to encompass a significant portion of the relevant market. Well-known trademarks enjoy heightened legal protection, including broader scope of protection against infringement and dilution, even if they are not registered in a particular jurisdiction.

    Difference between a Trademark and a Well-known Trademark

    Following is the difference between a trademark and a well-known trademark:

    Trademark: A trademark is a symbol, word, sign, or graphic that is used to identify and distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of others in the marketplace. It serves as a unique identifier of the source or origin of the products or services and helps consumers recognize and differentiate between various brands. Trademarks can take various forms, including brand names, logos, slogans, symbols, or even product packaging designs. Once registered, trademarks grant exclusive rights to their owners to use the mark in connection with the specified goods or services, providing legal protection against unauthorized use by competitors.

    Well-Known Trademark: Under the Trade Marks Act of 1999, a well-known trademark is a special category of trademark that has gained significant popularity, reputation, and recognition among a substantial portion of the public. Unlike ordinary trademarks, which are used to identify specific goods or services of a particular company, well-known trademarks are recognized and respected across various industries and sectors. These trademarks have achieved a high level of consumer awareness and are widely known for their quality, reputation, and unique features. To qualify as a well-known trademark, a mark must meet certain criteria, including extensive use and promotion, widespread recognition among consumers, and association with goods or services of exceptional quality.

    While both trademarks and well-known trademarks serve to identify and distinguish the goods or services of a company, well-known trademarks hold a higher level of recognition and reputation in the marketplace. They enjoy enhanced legal protection and are afforded greater scope of protection against infringement and dilution, even if they are not registered in a particular jurisdiction. Well-known trademarks are esteemed assets for businesses, representing the pinnacle of brand success and consumer trust.


    Some of the key benefits of having a well-known trademark include:

    1. Strong legal protection: A well-known trademark is afforded stronger legal protection than an ordinary trademark, making it easier to enforce your rights and prevent infringement.
    2. Brand recognition: By establishing your trademark as a well-known mark, you can increase brand recognition and enhance the value of your brand.
    3. Competitive advantage: A well-known trademark can provide a competitive advantage over other businesses in your industry, making it easier to establish a strong market position.

    Factors to Consider While Determining a Well-Known Trademark

    Awareness Among Relevant Public Groups: One of the primary factors in determining a well-known trademark is the level of awareness it enjoys among relevant public groups. This includes consumers, industry professionals, trade associations, and other stakeholders associated with the goods or services covered by the trademark. The mark’s widespread recognition and reputation within these groups indicate its status as a well-known trademark.

    Duration and Location of Trademark Use: The duration and geographical extent of a trademark’s use play a significant role in establishing its well-known status. A trademark that has been consistently used over a prolonged period and across multiple jurisdictions is more likely to be recognized and respected by consumers and competitors alike. The longer and broader the use of the mark, the stronger its claim to well-known status.

    Promotion Efforts and Marketing Activities: The effectiveness and extent of the trademark’s promotion efforts also influence its recognition and reputation. Brands that invest in extensive marketing campaigns, advertising initiatives, and brand-building activities tend to enhance the visibility and awareness of their trademarks among target audiences. The consistency and creativity of promotional efforts contribute to the mark’s overall reputation and distinctiveness in the marketplace.

    Registration Duration, Coverage, and History: The length of time the trademark has been registered, the geographical areas covered by the registration, and the mark’s history of successful use in other jurisdictions are important considerations. A well-known trademark is often registered in multiple jurisdictions to ensure comprehensive protection against infringement and dilution. The mark’s track record of successful use and enforcement in various markets further solidifies its status as a well-known trademark.

    Well-Known Trademarks and Their Protection

    Well-known trademarks enjoy enhanced protection compared to regular trademarks. The safeguarding of these trademarks typically involves measures aimed at preventing their unauthorized reproduction, imitation, or translation, particularly if such actions are likely to cause confusion in the relevant market.

    Under the provisions of Section 11 of the Trademark Act, 1999, and Rule 124 of the Trademark Rules, well-known trademarks and marks registered in good faith are granted special protection. Any individual or entity has the right to file an application for the registration of a well-known trademark, as stipulated by Rule 124. This provision underscores the importance of acknowledging and preserving the distinctive reputation and goodwill associated with well-known trademarks, thereby ensuring their continued integrity and exclusivity in the marketplace.


    Here are some of the key steps involved in establishing a well-known trademark:

    1. Conduct a trademark search: Conduct a thorough trademark search to ensure that your mark is unique and not already in use by others.
    2. Establish a strong brand presence: Establish a strong brand presence in your industry through marketing, advertising, and other promotional activities.
    3. Prove the distinctiveness of your mark: Demonstrate that your mark is distinctive and has acquired secondary meaning in the minds of consumers.
    4. File a well-known trademark application: File an application with the relevant authorities to establish your mark as a well-known trademark.


    The process of establishing a well-known trademark involves conducting a trademark search, building a strong brand presence, proving the distinctiveness of your mark, and filing a well-known trademark application with the relevant authorities. At Corporate Raasta Consulting, we provide end-to-end support for establishing a well-known trademark, including conducting the trademark search, developing a strong brand strategy, and filing the trademark application.

    Form TM-M Submission: The applicant initiates the process by submitting Form TM-M, which is the designated application form for registering a well-known trademark. This form serves as the formal request for recognizing the trademark’s well-known status and provides essential details about the trademark and its owner.

    Statement Supporting Well-Known Status: Along with Form TM-M, the applicant must include a statement supporting the grounds for considering the trademark as well-known. This statement should elucidate the reasons and criteria that justify the well-known status of the trademark. It serves as a comprehensive explanation of why the trademark deserves special recognition and protection.

    Submission of Evidence: Supporting the claim of the trademark’s well-known status requires providing substantial evidence to the Registrar. This evidence may include:

    • Proof of trademark use in India and/or abroad, demonstrating the extent and duration of the trademark’s usage in commerce.
    • Evidence of advertising and publicity efforts related to the trademark, showcasing the investment and efforts made to promote and establish the brand in the market.
    • Documentation demonstrating consumer recognition and awareness of the trademark, such as market surveys, consumer feedback, or testimonials.

    Collectively, this evidence substantiates the claim that the trademark holds significant recognition and reputation among consumers and industry stakeholders.

    Payment of Filing Fee: Alongside the submission of documents and evidence, the applicant is required to pay the prescribed filing fee for registering a well-known trademark. The fee amount is determined by the relevant authorities and is payable at the time of filing the application.


    The documents required for establishing a well-known trademark may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the relevant authorities. Generally, you will need to provide evidence of the distinctiveness and recognition of your mark, such as evidence of sales figures, market research, and advertising materials.

    • A trademark is considered "well-known" if it has gained significant recognition and reputation among consumers and industry stakeholders. Factors such as extensive use, advertising, and consumer awareness contribute to its well-known status.

    • The determination of whether a trademark is well-known involves assessing various factors, including its recognition among relevant public groups, duration and geographical extent of use, promotion efforts, and consumer recognition. Consultation with legal experts or trademark authorities can help ascertain the well-known status of a trademark.

    • Having a well-known trademark provides enhanced legal protection against infringement and dilution, greater market recognition and consumer trust, increased brand value, and competitive advantage in the marketplace.

    • Yes, the recognition of a trademark as well-known may vary from one country to another based on factors such as market presence, consumer awareness, and legal standards for well-known trademarks in each jurisdiction.

    • To apply for well-known trademark status, the applicant typically submits an application to the trademark registry along with supporting evidence demonstrating the trademark's recognition and reputation. This may include evidence of extensive use, advertising efforts, and consumer recognition.

    • Evidence supporting a claim of well-known status may include proof of trademark use, advertising and promotional materials, consumer surveys, market research data, and legal judgments recognizing the trademark's reputation.

    • Factors such as the duration and geographical extent of trademark use, promotional efforts, consumer awareness, market share, and reputation within the industry are considered in determining the recognition of a trademark as well-known.