The legal concept of a “trademark” can be defined as an exclusive right to furnish an article or a service with a specific sign for the purpose of individualization. In the case of registered German trademarks, the trademark takes effect exclusively for the Federal Republic of Germany.
The term of protection is firstly 10 years and can be extended by 10 years at a time without limit.
All signs, in particular words inclusive of illustrations, letters, numbers, sounds as well as getups inclusive of colors and color compositions serving the purpose of differentiating goods or services of different enterprises are eligible for protection.
Trademark protection in general can be acquired by recordal of a sign in the Trademark Register at the German Patent and Trademark Office. A German trademark application has to be field with the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO).
Subsequent to the filing of the trademark application, the German Patent and Trademark Office examines whether the application meets the formal requirements and whether absolute grounds for refusal are substantiated, i.e. in particular if the sign exhibits a sufficient degree of distinctiveness. In the event that all requirements are satisfied, the trademark is recorded in the Register and is published. The existence of third-party rights which may potentially conflict with the registration is not examined at this stage.