Protection of Your Trademarks and Company Signs

Every child must have a name. This is also true in the field of trademarks and company signs. Trademarks and company signs identify and individualize a product, a service or a company. They represent an essential part of a corporate identity.

The introduction and protection of a new trademark is a complex process.

Before filing a trademark application, it has a to be assessed if the desired sign is available. This is not the case if the same or similar design has been registered for same or similar goods or services by a third party, such that there exists a likelihood of confusion. To assess this issue, a prior rights search has to be conducted and evaluated. Another issue that should be assessed before the filing of the trademark application is whether the desired sign is able to act as a trademark, i.e., to serve as an indication of origin. This is not the case if the sign is purely descriptive or lacks any distinctiveness.

If the desired sign is available, it should be protected by filing a trademark application. During the application proceedings, issues may be raised by the Office regarding whether the sign can be protected as a trademark and regarding the formulation of the description of goods and services.

After registration of the trademark, both in proceedings before the German Patent and Trademark Office regarding national German trademarks and in proceedings before the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property regarding EU trademarks, the trademark may be attacked by notices of opposition. In such case, the trademark has to be defended. In the course of such a defense, it is quite common to conduct prior rights agreements with the owners of prior opposing trademarks.

Once a trademark has been registered, it is prudent to place a watch on the trademark, in order to be able to survey if third parties apply for same or similar trademarks, such that there may arise a likelihood of confusion. If such it is sensible to oppose the registration of such trademarks.

In case of trademark infringement, according to German law, it is quintessential to act swiftly, as the option to have granted a preliminary injunction against the infringer by a Court is available for a limited time only. By means of such preliminary injunction, infringement of the trademark may be stopped at once. In Germany, in most cases such preliminary injunction is accepted by the infringer such that there is no need to go through lengthy regular civil procedures.

I will be happy to provide you with my advice and representation in all such cases.