Trademark law

Trademark registration and brand protection

The purpose of a Trademark is to distinguish goods and services of one organization from those of another. A trademark can be protected as a logo, a name, a company name or a character string. Trademark rights are also referred to as intellectual property.

With the registration of a trademark the owner is provided with a monopoly position. The owner of the trademark is able to prohibit the usage of the trademark for the registered goods and services.

The most common types of trademarks are:

  • Word trademarks
  • Word and figurative trademarks
  • Figurative trademarks
  • Sound and color trademarks

The owner of a trademark is free to use, license or sell the trademark.

First of all, an attorney of law specializing in trademark law is able to help you with the trademark registration.

At this, a thorough examination of the eligibility of protection as well as a trademark search will be conducted. The German trademark office will not examine if property rights of third parties are infringed when registering a trademark. Those are so called relative grounds for refusal in regard to the registration of the trademark.

Summary:

An attorney at law will examine if the registration is likely to be rejected:

  • On absolute grounds or
  • On relative grounds

An attorney at law will furthermore help you:

  • Find the suitable trademark and the trademark strategy
  • Create a suitable classification of goods and services

Get your trademark registration at a fixed price:

Representation: Trademark infringement warning letters

If a thirds party uses another person’s registered trademark, legal proceedings can be quite costly. The amount of dispute in trademark cases rarely falls below 50.000 €. The main reason for that being the particular economic importance of persevering the trademark. 

The enforcement of the injunctive relief of the trademark owner is paramount. Initially, this relief will be asserted via a warning letter (Abmahnung). Most of the time, a warning letter comes out of the blue and recipients are quite shocked. An attorney will examine if trademark rights really have been infringed. At that stage, mistakes can also be quite costly.

Trademark warning - What is it?

The warning serves the extrajudicial assertion of injunctive relief. An injuctive relief has its legal basis in §§ 14, 15 MarkenG. The infringing act can take on various forms. The infringement can occur in an advertisement for a product or the sale of products. The trademark owner warns the infringer by sending a cease and desist request.

They will usually set a short deadline for the infringer, because trademark cases are urgent matters. They will demand a cease-and-desist declaration as well as disclosure of the infringement. They will also demand legal fees and/or compensation.

The recepient of a lawful cease and desist claim will have to bear all the costs. This is why cease and desist claims should be carefully examined.

Proceedings against trademark infringements

With a trademark license agreement, the owner of a trademark is able to transfer the right to use the trademark. Herewith, the trademark owner is able to allow others to use his trademark.

The license agreement needs to include the following points:

  • Trademark owner/ licensor and and license holder
  • Information concerning the trademark, legal status, registration number, etc.
  • Protected goods and services, subject matter of the contract
  • License type (exclusive or non-exclusive)
  • Limitations concerning space, time and content
  • Level of quality
  • License fees
  • Confidentiality provisions
  • Etc.

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