Trademark registration in Germany

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    Trademark registration in Germany is a guarantee of high quality, trust and customer loyalty. Germany, the country with Europe’s largest economy, is the benchmark for order and punctuality. Any product of the German brand is associated with advanced technology, perfect performance, first-class materials, the highest quality, and durability. Research results suggest that consumers are willing to pay a higher price for products of German brand names.

    Entrepreneurs make a lot of efforts to develop their business. Having earned a good reputation and loyalty from their customers, company owners want to differ from their competitors in the market by registering a TM to individualize their goods or services. But many businessmen, entering the Western market, in particular the German market, often do not know that registering a trademark or patenting an invention in their country does not guarantee the protection of intellectual property rights abroad. To get it the trademark must be included in the German trade mark register.

    What is trademark and why do you need it

    An important role in any business is played by its correct positioning. One of the key components of effective business branding has been and remains the creation of our own brand (Trademark). By itself, TM means a designation or combination that is suitable for identifying manufactured products and provided services. A trademark may include words, single letters, graphic elements, numbers, and their combinations.

    It’s possible to say that a trademark is a recognizable phrase, name or logo that serves as an identification mark of your products. The advantages of trademark registration in Germany are as follows:

    • obtaining the exclusive right to use the selected brand for own services and goods;
    • the right to authorize or prohibit other persons from using your trademark;
    • a registered trademark can be monetized by itself by renting or selling.
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    Why to register trademark in Germany

    Registration of a trademark in German patent and trade mark office for foreign individuals and legal entities is possible in at least three ways:

    • By filing an international application using the Madrid System.
    • By applying for registration of a trademark of the European Union.
    • According to the German national trademark registration procedure.

    Any legal actions in Germany (in particular, correspondence with the German patent office DPMA) on behalf of non-residents are carried out exclusively through patent attorneys of Germany. Without the representation of a patent attorney, the non-residents of Germany are not entitled to carry out any actions for registration of a trademark.

    Types of trademarks that you can register

    In general, until January 2019, in Germany was allowed to register any trademark which can be represented graphically. Any symbol or sign can be protected as a trademark if it is also able to distinguish products or services (service marks are registered) of one company from the marks of other enterprises (section three of German Trademark Law), including:

    • words (including personal names), pictures, letters, and numbers;
    • sound signs;
    • 3D objects, including the form of the products or their packaging;
    • colors and color combinations.

    Since January 2019, German patent register no longer requires a graphical representation, so the forms of non-traditional signs given below can, in principle, be registered:

    • scene video;
    • traffic signs;
    • sound tags as an audio file;
    • holograms;
    • smells, etc.

    However, they should still be clear, unambiguous and recognizable.

    Trademarks registration procedures 

    Before applying for registration of a trademark, and paying a fee for this procedure with the German Patent Office, it is recommended to conduct a preliminary Germany trademark search in the databases of Germany, WIPO, and the European Union. To do this, it is necessary to know at least the verbal (letter part) of the future TM and the classes of items and services the mark is planned to be registered in Germany for. This procedure of trademark search Germany is necessary to understand the likelihood of successful registration of a brand and its further legitimate use in a given state. The trademark officially takes effects after registration.

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    Registration of a trademark in Germany takes from 6 weeks to 9 months, on condition that all official requirements are fulfilled and there are no reasons for denying. The estimated time at the moment is a little over three months. You can speed up the registration process by requesting an accelerated examination of the application, subject to an additional fee of 200 Euros.

    Protection after registration

    Trademark owners are permitted to grant trademark licenses, either exclusive (in that event, the owner must specify whether he will have the right to use the trademark on his own with the licensee, or only the licensee will have the right to use the trademark in Germany), or non-exclusive (in this case, there may be several co-existing licensees). A license can be granted for all products and services indicated by a trademark included in the German patent office register or only for their parts, as well as for all or part of the territory of Germany.

    In Germany, there are no special Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures for trademark infringement cases. However, the general provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure regarding ADR methods also apply to cases of trademark infringement. Consequently, the ADR procedure is possible in cases of trademark violations, even if they are practically not used in Germany.

    Benefits of trade mark registration in Germany

    Trademark registration in Germany
    Trademark registration will protect products from illegal use.

    The properly created and registered TM becomes an object of intellectual property and is protected by law.

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    The validity of a registered trademark in Germany is ten years, with the opportunity of consequent renewal. The registration can be canceled in the register at the request of the owner concerning all or part of the goods or services it is registered for at any time.

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    It is beneficial to make German patent office search and then apply to register a trademark in Germany because it greatly facilitates the extension of German intellectual property rights. Registration of a German trademark authorizes the owner to ban the use of the trademark throughout Germany.

    Cost of registration

    The formal fee for registration is 300 Euros (290 Euros for electronic filing) for applications up to three classes. However, it is necessary to pay a hundred extra Euros for each added class. The German Patent and Trademark Office comply with the rules of the Nice classification. It checks whether the application fulfills all the official requirements including paying the registration fee which should be done within 90 days after filing the application.If some formal requirements are not met (for example, German patent search results, information about the applicant, presentation of a trademark or a list of applicable products and services), the Trademark Office will let the applicant modify the application accordingly. If the applicant fails to eliminate the shortcomings within the prescribed time or at least requires an extension of the deadline, the application will be considered not filed.

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