Trademark Search in Germany

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Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a time frame for filing for a trademark registration?

The estimated time frame from filing the application up to registration is 6 months. This time frame is only suitable to regular prosecution without challenges.

If I register my trademark in Germany, do I have protection in other territories?

Registered trademarks in this jurisdiction are protected in Germany and East Germany. If the registration can be based on the European Union Trade Mark (formerly Community Trademark), the territorial limit would be all member countries of EU.

Do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

A simple scanned power of attorney is required.

Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?

No. There are no benefits from pre-filing use.

Will there be problems in case I don’t use my trademark after registration?

Yes. Non-use of a registered mark can result to cancellation of registration.

What are the types of trademark that can be registered in Germany?

Marks that can be represented clearly and can make a product or service distinguishable from others are allowed for registration: 

  • Names
  • Slogans
  • Words
  • Sounds
  • Taste
  • Touch
  • Smell
  • Trade dress
  • Devices
  • Holograms
  • Colors
  • Shapes with 3 dimensions
What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in Germany?

The sequence of the application procedure is as follows: 

  1. Examination – Elements of the application are examined such as compliance to trademark requirements, classes of good/service, clarity of description, and deceptiveness.
  2. Registration – After the mark was examined by the trademark office authorities, and there are no absolute grounds for the application to be refused, a certificate of registration will be issued to the applicant.
  3. Publication – The registered trademark will then be published in the Markenblatt. The specifics of the registration will be published and be made accessible to the public. The publication phase allows third-parties to check the newly registered mark and file a complaint or opposition if need be.
What type of trademark is non-registrable?

Some marks are prohibited by this jurisdiction to be registered: 

  • Marks that are incompatible with Germany’s moral standards or marks that oppose public order
  • Terms that have a broad meaning (generic words)
  • Marks that use symbols, names or flags of regions, states, nations and international organization without permission from proper authorities
  • Marks that do not display distinctive characteristics
Does Germany use the "Nice Classification" system?

The Nice Classification system is used in Germany only as a general guide.

Does the Community Trademark apply for Germany?

Yes. Germany is a member of the European Union and EUTM (European Union Trade Mark) registration system is effective in this jurisdiction.

Is there any possibility to claim priority in Germany?

Yes. The filing date in your home country can be claimed as the filing date in Germany if the following requirements are met: 

  • Your home country is a member of the Paris Convention
  • The filing date in your home country occurred within 6 months prior to the application date in Germany
  • Your home country is a member of the WTO (World Trade Organization)
  • International registration can be based in Germany
What do I need to do to satisfy the use requirement?

You must use a registered mark within 5 years from the date the registration was granted or 5 years from the date the opposition was terminated. Also, “use” must be in a business scale and must occur in this jurisdiction. If the mark was registered in the European Union Trade Mark, use of the mark in any of the member state would suffice.

Once my trademark has been registered, for how many years will be valid?

The registered mark will be initially valid for 10 years computed from the date of application.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

You have to renew your mark 10 years from the date you filed your application.

Is it legal to use my trademark even if it is not yet registered?

Yes. You may legally use an unregistered trademark for selling goods or services.

Does having a registered trademark in Germany afford me any right?

To establish trademark rights, the owner is required to undergo registration. The “first to file” rule applies in Germany. Exception to this rule is famous marks that have already acquired a high level of reputation in doing business. Such marks are given protection even if these are not officially registered.

What is the web address of the trademark national office?

Germany’s national trademark office is accessible online at this web address: https://www.dpma.de/english/index.html

Is there any need to use my trademark before I apply for registration?

Applicants are not mandated to use the mark or to intend to use the mark before applying for registration.

What are the grounds for a Trademark Application to be opposed?

Acceptable grounds for opposition include: 

  • A similar or identical mark was registered earlier by another person or company
  • A well-known mark was copied or if it looks almost the same as a notorious mark
  • The mark was registered in the agent’s name or a representative of the owner of the mark
  • Rights against trade names are violated
  • Absolute grounds such as deceptiveness, descriptiveness, non-distinctiveness, etc.
  • Violation of prior rights such as rights to a copyrighted material, personal name, patented design, etc.
Who can contest my trademark registration?

Owners of an earlier right can challenge your registration.

Is it possible to cancel a registration?

Yes. Registration can be revoked on the grounds of: 

  • Non-use
  • Against morality or public policy
  • Bad faith
  • Generic or common terms
  • Geographical indication
  • Prior rights in personal name or patented designs
  • Breach of copyright
  • Proprietary rights
  • Descriptive, not distinctive, misleading, functional marks
  • Unauthorized use of protected flags, emblems or armorial bearings
  • Conflicts with rights of notorious marks and trade names
Are there any rights established by having a registered trademark?

Yes. Owners of a registered mark in Germany secure the following: 

  • Exclusive right to use the mark
  • Right to object to later conflicting application
  • Right to appeal for the revocation of a later conflicting registration
  • Right to file infringement charges against third parties that use confusingly similar mark
  • Right to obtain damages for infringement
  • Right to warrant or authorize third parties to use the mark
  • Right to appeal for the confiscation of counterfeit goods bearing the registered mark
How long is the opposition period?

The opposition period will start on the publication date when the registration was granted and it will end three months after that date.

Is Germany a member of the Madrid System?

Yes. Germany is a signatory of the international treaties, Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol.

Do I need to present periodic statement of use?

No. It is not mandatory to submit a periodic statement of use or any filing that would set forth the use of the mark.

When should I renew my trademark?

Succeeding renewals must be done every 10 years.

What will be the renewal date of my trademark?

You have to renew your mark 10 years from the date you filed your application.

Is there any documentation that should be presented when renewing a trademark?

No documentation is necessary since paying the renewal fee is enough.

If my trademark expires, do I have a grace period?

If the registration is already expired, you are still given 6 months to renew it.

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