Trade Marks have been defined as any sign, or any combination of signs capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings. Such distinguishing marks constitute protectable subject matter under the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement. The Agreement provides that initial registration and each renewal of registration shall be for a term of not less than 7 years and the registration shall be renewable indefinitely. Compulsory licensing of trade marks is not permitted.
Keeping in view the changes in trade and commercial practices, globalisation of trade, need for simplification and harmonisation of trade marks registration systems etc., a comprehensive review of the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958 was made and a Bill to repeal and replace the 1958 Act has since been passed by Parliament and notified in the Gazette on 30.12.1999. This Act not only makes Trade Marks Law, TRIPS compatibility but also harmonises it with international systems and practices. Work is underway to bring the law into force.
The TM Act allows for the registration of service marks and three-dimensional marks as well. India follows the NICE Classification of goods and services, which is incorporated in the Schedule to the Rules under the TM Act.