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.
Germany’s national trademark office is accessible online at this web address: https://www.dpma.de/english/index.html
Applicants are not mandated to use the mark or to intend to use the mark before applying for registration.
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.
Owners of an earlier right can challenge your registration.
Yes. Registration can be revoked on the grounds of:
- 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
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
The opposition period will start on the publication date when the registration was granted and it will end three months after that date.
Yes. Germany is a signatory of the international treaties, Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol.
No. It is not mandatory to submit a periodic statement of use or any filing that would set forth the use of the mark.