Trademark Application - Benefits and Costs
All over the world, renowned companies are identified mainly by their brand. These companies have successfully branded to differentiate themselves from competitors with regard to their customers and their identification with the company's products. Already when founding a company it can make sense to create a trademark for a product or a service and to register it for protection. A trademark application protects your innovations, the quality of your products or services, and your investments from your competitors. This gives you a better position in the market - after all, your brand is an asset worthy of being protected. Find a handful of tips from your expert in trademark law below, helping you to successfully apply for trademark protection.
Register Trademark: Intellectual Property and Industrial Property Rights
The realm of intellectual property and industrial property rights comprises 'trademark'-rules. Basically, a brand describes a product or a service. It may consist of colors, numbers, words, letters or illustrations. Even acoustic signals can fall under trademark protection. Within the framework of a trademark application, you can have the special characteristics of your trademark protected from your competitors. Variations allow you to notz only register a logo (picture mark) or company name (word mark) for instance, but also an advertising slogan as well. Even a three-dimensional design may, under certain conditions, become a trademark. The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) or the European Patent Office (EUIPO) are your contact partners, depending on where you wish to file your trademark application. There are costs involved. Nevertheless, costs due to trademark infringement or for legally fighting an unlawfully reproduced "trademark product" are many times higher.
Should a competitor misuse the trademark rights of your registered trademark in good faith or maliciously, you may not only prohibit the culprit from using the trademark by issuing a warning - you may also assert claims for information and possibly damages. A registered trademark is automatically protected in the entire area of application - for example, if you register with the DPMA, you are protected throughout Germany. If, on the other hand, you file your trademark application with the European Patent Office, you automatically enjoy protection throughout Europe. The scope of protection of a trademark is determined in the application by the so-called list of goods and services, relying on dedicated classes of products or services.
Click here to go to the German register.
The European register can be found here.
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Trademark Application at the DPMA or EUIPO: Online or by Post
Fees apply for registering a trademark. As mentioned above, trademark applications in Germany are filed through the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA). It is nevertheless also possible to register at European or International level. In Germany, trademark applications can be filed either by post or via an online form. You must provide as much information about the trademark as possible - otherwise, you may not be able to pay the costs involved. The entry in the list of goods and services is particularly tricky, as this list consists of 45 classes of goods and services from which you must choose the one that suits best. This often entails precise research. As soon as details have been submitted, the trademark application will be examined by the German Patent and Trademark Office. If absolute grounds for refusal show up, no trademark application will be filed, or the application will be rejected. This may be the case if your wordmark is descriptive while your mark is devoid of any distinctive character. Fees for the trademark application, costing about 300 EUR in total, will not be refunded. Because registration can take a while, the accelerated examination of an application is on offer for 200 EUR extra as well. An information sheet from the DPMA, which should answer all basic questions, can be found here.
Register Trademark: Do a Trademark Search First!
Once your application filed and subsequently registered, you are protected for ten years - with the option to extend this period against a fee. Trademarks can be renewed as often as desired, contrary to patents. Therefore, a very large number of registered trademarks are deposited at the DPMA. Please also bear in mind that your application will not be examined by the DPMA itself for possible earlier trademarks, i.e. whether existing industrial property rights are infringed. Proprietors of earlier trademarks can file an opposition against your application within three months of having your trademark applied for. If the opposition is successful, the trademark registration is canceled, and the trademark application invalidated. Even then, you will not be refunded the fees for the trademark application. It is therefore essential to carry out a trademark search, at least an identity search, but better still a similarity search. Accordingly, it is recommendable to hire an experienced patent attorney for trademark registration. This not only saves you time but also money in the long run because you don't have to reckon with any unsuccessful trademark applications. In addition, you don't have to invest any effort in the time-consuming research - your lawyer will relieve you of this work. Even when a warning is issued by the authorities, your lawyer is at your side.
Trademark Registration: Comprehensive and Reliable
As you can see, there are many reasons for a trademark search before filing. Because nothing is more annoying than having to revise your brand three times and to pay the resulting costs several times in vain on top. Moreover, you will usually invest a lot of money in marketing your product so you should avoid being sent a trademark infringement warning if possible, for example because your such a brand already exists in identical form. Of course, a trademark search is not an absolute guarantee for avoiding conflict with existing trademark protection, but the risk is significantly reduced. One of our tips is, therefore, to directly consult a lawyer for your trademark application. They can advise you comprehensively and reliably in all questions concerning trademark applications. If you want to register your brand, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be pleased to answer all questions, doubts and concerns regarding searches, trademark applications, and trademark protection.