Trademarks, Business names and descriptions, Descriptions of geographical origin
Trademarks can comprise:
All characteristics, especially words, illustrations, letters, numbers, sounds, three-dimensional forms, including the form of a product or its packaging, and other appearances, including colours and colour compositions, which serve to distinguish the products and services of an enterprise from those of other enterprises.
Trademark protection cannot be granted for characteristics which consist of a form:
inherent to the type of the product itself;
necessary in order to achieve a technical effect;
which lend an essential value to the product.
Trademark protection arises through:
registration of a trademark in the trademark register of the German Patents and Trademarks Office;
use of a trademark within interested business circles;
notorious public awareness of a trademark.
Registration is not possible for trademarks which:
are lacking all distinctiveness for the products or services;
consist solely of expressions of the properties, origin, amount or time of manufacture or execution of the products or services;
consist solely of expressions of common language usage;
are suited to mislead the public in particular with regard to the nature, properties and origin of the products or services;
are contrary to public policy;
contain national coats-of-arms, national flags or the coats-of-arms of localities;
contain test or quality marks or symbols;
use of which can be prohibited in the public interest.
Effect of the acquisition of a trademark:
The acquisition of a trademark or business name guarantees the holder an exclusive right and thus the entitlement to claim damages or to sue for restraint. All third parties are forbidden to utilise the trademark or business name for commercial purposes without the permission of the holder.
Opposition to a trademark:
It is possible to oppose the registration of a trademark within 3 months from the date of publication of the registration.
Persons who are not resident and also have no offices in the country must nominate a locally appointed patent lawyer to handle the application on their behalf.