In the past year, Germany strengthened its regulatory framework for trademarks and IP rights. A new Law on the Modernization of Trademark Law has come into force, which includes the main provisions of EU directives.
The updated law strengthens the brand rights and keeps pace with new technical developments to make TM registering in Germany faster and easier.
Earlier in Germany it was impossible but since last year, original volumetric marks can be well registered:
- video clips;
- traffic signs;
- 3D objects;
- holographic objects;
- odors, etc.
As volumetric trademarks, original perfume bottles, containers for drinks, the form of the product itself, the packaging are registered most often.
It should be noted that a number of difficulties may arise when registering aromatic TMs. In particular, first of all, this is the problem of fixing the smell and its persistence, since smells tend to disappear.
Nevertheless, it is still advised to present TMs for registration graphically, even when it is really difficult to do as in the case with odors. This recommendation is especially relevant for international registration of a German TM.
Why register TM in Germany
Registering a TM in Germany is beneficial in that it greatly facilitates the spread of German rights to registered IP. By doing so, the brand owner obtains the right to prohibit the use of the brand or its imitation throughout Germany.
If a competitor filed an application earlier, and you have strong evidence that you have been using this trademark extensively for a long time, then hurry up to file objections. It is always easier to prevent the registration of a trademark at the stage of its examination, before making an official registration record.
NOTE: One can obtain TM protection even without registering it in Germany. This is only possible if it can be proven that the TM is known to the general public and can be clearly associated with certain goods or services.
As for unregistered TMs, if the mark is recognized only within a certain region in Germany, it is logical that the protection is limited to that territory meaning that the brand owner cannot prevent anyone from using it outside this area and cannot file objections against newly registered TMs.
Registration features you should know
It is quite easy to register a brand in Germany but you have to be patient. The entire process can take as little as a few weeks, or it can take up to 1 year. It all depends how scrupulous you are in detail.
With German pedantry, you need to make sure that all formal requirements are met and there are no absolute grounds for refusal. Before you apply, please ensure that your brand is eligible for registration. Does your TM meet the registration criteria?
It is advised to carry out online brand check before you apply for registration. Special online resources contain information on registered trademarks in Germany according to the national procedure, as well as on submitted TMs that have passed formal examination. The database is updated weekly, after each official publication of information about new registered trademarks, which allows you to receive the most up-to-date information on submitted applications and for all registered brands.
IP dispute settlement in Germany
After TM registration in Germany, the owner receives the entire scope of exclusive rights provided for by law. However, the very fact of registration does not protect you from illegal actions of third parties in relation to your intellectual property. The constantly growing number of legal disputes in the field of IP demonstrates the importance of protecting exclusive rights and preventing violations at the post-registration stage.
If a competitor has already received a trademark registration, but you can prove that such registration will mislead consumers, and is an act of unfair competition, you can achieve the termination of legal protection of this TM by starting litigation procedure in Germany.
No special ADR procedures for brand infringement cases are envisaged in German legislation. The ADR methods are nevertheless quite possible to use in cases of trademark rights violation even if they are practically not used in the jurisdiction.
Specialists at IQ Decision UK offer assistance in registering TM in Germany as well as effective strategies for protecting TM rights in Germany in case of violations. We provide legal assistance and represent our clients in court in trademark infringement disputes.