Why and how to register a trademark in Germany

Germany is a member of the European Union, thus European Union Trademarks (EUTM) are protected in this jurisdiction. Therefore, trademark protection in Germany can be obtained either by registering a European Union trademark that is also valid in all the other European Union member countries, or by registering locally through the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA). The German trademark office offers the option of an accelerated trademark registration process. This process requires the payment of additional fees. The accelerated trademark process in Germany allows for a trademark to be registered in just two (2) months.

If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Germany, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.

Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity. Probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.

In Germany, use of the trademark before registration is not necessary and will not help overcome objections raised on grounds of lack of distinctiveness.

The German trademarks office (DPMA) will examine the application to check whether the trademark complies with the requirements for registration. It will not check the existence of identical or confusingly similar filed or registered trademarks. 

Once the application is accepted for registration, the grant of registration will be published, marking the beginning of a three-month period during which third parties can file an opposition against it.

German trademarks are valid for ten (10) years from the application date. The renewal can be applied as early as one year before the expiry date until the last day of the month of the renewal date. There is a grace period of six (6) months after the expiry date when the trademark can still be renewed provided a late renewal fee is paid. 

Although it is not necessary to use the trademark for it to register, it must be used within a period of five (5) years after registration, otherwise it will become vulnerable to cancellation for non-use. The amount of use in Germany must be on a commercial scale.

Germany is a member state to the Madrid Protocol. Thus, the extension of an international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible for this country. For further information regarding our services for trademark filing through the Madrid System click here.


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