welt Habenicht international:  deutsch  |  english  |  francais

The next step

Do you have questions about patents, utility models or brands? Then please contact us



Legal Security by Property Rights


Advice in all fields of industrial legal protection

A trademark can be any kind of character string, colour, tune or object. It will be registered if it is novel and unique as such and is thus apt to distinguish a product or a service for which it is used from competing ones in business.

In general, trade marks are granted each for one single country by the respective national Trade Mark Office. Accordingly, the trade mark application has to be filed in the country in which it is to enter into force. However, some supranational communities of states like the member states of the European Union or member states of the Madrid Agreement have agreed to allow trade marks to be applied for for all their member states in a combined procedure.

An applicant for a trademark may be any person or (group of) enterprise(s). The applicant is regarded as the owner of the trade mark, however, copyright is to be observed.

Apart from the trade name for which protection is sought the trademark application must contain a list of goods and services for which the trademark is to be used. The applicant must be identifiable from the request. Filing fees have to be paid upon filing the request or shortly thereafter.

In the granting procedure, examination is only conducted as to novelty and uniqueness of the trade name as such (“examination for absolute grounds for refusal”), there is no comparison to other existing trade marks (“examination for relative grounds for refusal”). Hence at the end of the procedure to grant there may exist two equal or similar trade marks in the market simultaneously. If co-existence of two trade marks is likely to raise confusion on the part of the public, the owner of the earlier trade mark may launch an opposition procedure (shortly after grant of the younger trade mark) in which the identity/similarity of sign and of goods/services of both trade marks is assessed. In the event of too great a correspondence between both trade marks the younger trade mark is deleted. Hence, even with a granting of the trade mark there is still a risk of a declaration of nullity on the trade mark owner’s side.

Validity of a registered trade mark expires after 10 years, however, it may be renewed as often as desired by payment of a renewal fee (no maximum life time after which the mark definitely expires!).