The trade mark filing process in Bhutan is governed and regulated by Industrial Property Act of 2001. An unregistered trademark can also be used but once a trademark is registered, the owner of the trademark has exclusive rights over the mark. Bhutan also follows the International Classification of Goods and Services as prescribed by the Nice Agreement to classify trademark and also it is possible to file applications in all 45 classes in Bhutan. Bhutan is member of Madrid, thereby making it possible to file international applications. Trade Mark application can be filed for a single class as well as multi class.
There are two categories under which Trademark Applications in Bhutan can be classified that are Ordinary trade mark application which is without any priority and Conventional trade mark application which has to be filed within 6 months from date of filing of conventional application.
The basic requirements for filing of a trademark application in Bhutan are: (I) Name, address, nationality and particulars of the applicant. The applicant can be either be an individual, society, trust, partnership firms or company; (II) International Class i.e. Under which class it is listed under the applicable class or classes of the International Classification; (III) A proper description of goods or services; (IV) Date from which it was being used or proposed to be used; (V) All the details of priority, if any, including application number, date of filing or country of filing; and (IV) If the mark is in any other language than English then it should be translated and transliterated (i.e. its pronunciation) in English. It is also to be noted that 12 copies of the trademark specimen will be required, if provided in print form or single copy if provided soft copy via email and for shape of goods 3-5 different views (i.e. top, bottom, left side, right side and front view).
The procedure is: A person who claims to be the proprietor of the mark files the trademark application. After that, the Formality Examination of the Application takes place to check and to determine the formal compliance before issuance of an Application number. Thereafter, the trade mark application is examined by the Trade Mark Registry for any similarity with the existing trade mark, if any and thereby if any objection is found, an examination report will issued by the Trade Mark Registry; to which the reply has to be filed to the examination board within 2 months. It is to be noted that reply can also be extended by 2 months. If there are no objections or if objections have been overcome and the trade mark is considered allowable, acceptance order is issued. Then the trade mark is published in the Trade Mark Journal. Any type of opposition has to be raised within 3 months from date of publication of the application. If no opposition ii filed within the stipulated time period or if the same is set aside then the Trade mark is registered and the Registration Certificate is issued.
In Bhutan, Trade mark registration is a long process and may take 12-18 months to obtain registration in case no opposition takes place. The duration of registration of a trademark is 10 years from the date of filing of application which is further renewable for every 10 years thereafter, from the date of expiration of the trade mark.