A trademark is a reference to the origin in view of its goods and services. The following can be registered as trademarks: word marks, figurative marks or figurative marks containing word elements, sound marks, three-dimensional layouts and distinctive presentation of goods including their colors.
Before a trademark will be registered in the trademark registry, the German Patent and Trademark Office carries out an objective examination with respect to the trademark application.
During the examination procedure, it will be checked if the mark is distinctive in view of the stated goods/services. Furthermore, there must not be the need to keep the sign free for trade. A mark can be registered if it does not simply consist of characteristics and designs which are descriptive for the stated goods and services.
The German Patent and Trademark Office does not investigate if there are prior trademarks which may be in conflict with the use or registration of the newly filed trademark.
The trademark can be renewed for 10 years without limitation.
Trademark Protection abroad
Trademark protection abroad can be gained by national trademarks, union trademarks as well as international trademarks. Union trademarks are valid throughout the whole EU and can be registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante.
International trademark applications can be filed following the Madrid System which is based on the Madrid Agreement (MMA) as well as the Madrid Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement (PMMA). By this, it is possible to gain protection in selected member states of the respective agreements via one application only. The application has to be filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.