When you start a business, the feeling of excitement when you know you’ve found the right name is often one of the most exhilarating moments.
However, the path from an innovative idea to an officially registered trademark can be difficult. We have laid out the most important aspects below so that you can have a clear idea of what’s in store.
What is a trademark application anyway?
Trademarks exist largely for two reasons, or perhaps one, which is two sides of the same coin. The first is so that you can be confident that your name and logo are unique. The second is so that no one can imitate you. In order to achieve that confidence, you need to register at the Trademark Office.
When filing a trademark application at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), you can get legal protection for your name, slogan or logo, preventing anyone else from using similar ones. The flipside if that if anything you wish trademark already exists, then you will need to think of something else!
What does the term “trademark” cover?
First and foremost, the trademark is the name of the product. It can be protected in various ways: Words, i.e. slogans, product names or company names are protected as ‘word marks’, logos as ‘figurative marks’ (or design marks), and a combination of text and image as ‘word/figurative marks’.
Does this mean that I have to find a trademark for my product that does not yet exist anywhere?
In order to register is Germany, you do not need to think of something that is globally unique; it only needs to be unique within your industry in Germany or the EU. Existing brand names from abroad, or from another industry, can be used, provided there is no danger of confusion.
Conversely, this means that you must ensure that your trademark is not already in use and that there is no danger of confusion with another trademark.
How do I find out whether I can use my trademark without any problems?
Each registered trademark is protected for a certain number of goods and services which are delineated by the Nice Classification, which divides them into different classes. You can select the appropriate ones within which you will be protected. You should weigh up the costs and benefits of each choice, as the basic fee of € 300.00 at the DPMA includes only three classes and an additional € 100.00 is charged for each additional class.
When drawing up this list, you need to make sure you achieve the right balance. On one hand you want to make sure that you can protect yourself in the classes you have selected, on the other, you need to make sure the the scope of protection is not too narrow, otherwise other entrepreneurs might use your trade mark for a similar product.
What else has to be considered?
A trademark search goes hand in hand with the creation of a secure list of goods and services: you must find out whether there is an identical or similar trademark that could threaten yours. If so, the the pre-existing trademark could request cancellation of yours trademark, since in the case of a collision the older trademark always takes precedence over the new one.
The registrability of your trademark is examined ex officio and may lead to the failure of your application, so you should ensure in advance that your trademark is registrable per se.
How can we help you now?
A professional trademark search by a lawyer will greatly reduce the chances of a clash with pre-existing trademarks. We can do this for you, and make sure that your application is well-prepared, registered without any problems, and a strong insurance against potential future imitators.