Trade mark protection is business protection
We know from our own experience: a company's trade mark, whether in the form of the company name or as a product name, is an important part of the business. It identifies the company’s products or the company itself. Trade marks are an indicator of origin and have a distinguishing feature that sets a company apart from other companies or their products. They can be licensed, sold and inherited and, depending on how the brand performs, can be worth a small amount or even billions.
So whenever an idea becomes a business plan and a particular company name, logo or product name is developed, it is important to protect it as seriously as the company itself and make trade mark protection part of the business plan.
Such protection is possible by registering a German trade mark at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, an EU trade mark for protection in the EU Member States at the EUIPO and subsequently as an international trade mark or as a national trade mark registered abroad. However, we strongly recommend that a trade mark search be conducted beforehand to ensure that there are not already existing trade mark registrations in identical or similar form.
Nowadays, it is possible for every individual and every company to conduct trade mark searches and register trade marks themselves - so there is no need to hire a lawyer. And yet this may conceal hidden costs and risks that can far exceed the costs supposedly saved by doing this on one's own. For example, a misinterpretation of the existing trade mark registrations researched, which may result in opposition or civil proceedings. Registration of a non-registrable trade mark, which is then refused without the costs incurred being reimbursed. Or the registration of a trade mark for goods and services that do not correspond to what is actually offered, and registration is therefore refused. Added to this is the cost of the time spent conducting searches regarding the registration itself. Because it is your "extra time" and thus your "extra costs" that you spend on it.
Our - completely free and well-meant - advice is therefore at this point: take the protection of your company name or product name seriously and rely on our experience and expert advice.
Based on years of experience, our trade mark team offers you:
- Reliable identical and similarity searches for word marks, word/figurative marks and figurative marks (the latter in cooperation with the patent law firm Pohl & Partner, because we also rely on expert advice) with a legal assessment of possible risks
- Review of whether the mark can be protected and advice on possible forms of registration (word mark, word/figurative mark or figurative mark)
- Developing a list of goods/services appropriate for you
- Filing applications for trade mark registration and support throughout the process up to registration
- Strategic advice on the further development of your trade mark
- Each trade mark application is filed in close consultation with our clients with a high degree of cost transparency
Once the trade mark has been registered, we regularly recommend that our clients monitor the registered trade mark to protect it against subsequent identical trade marks or trade marks of other companies that are directly similar. If necessary, we also advise our clients on the use of their trade mark once the grace period for using the mark has expired.
In addition, we support owners of trade marks out of court, but also in proceedings at the trade mark offices or before the civil courts in defending their trade mark by making use of the following options:
- Starting opposition proceedings (trade mark office)
- Entering into a co-existence agreement
- Entering into a priority agreement
- Drafting a cease and desist letter
- Filing a legal action against trade mark infringement
Lastly, it should also be the aim to maintain the protection of the trade mark beyond the ten-year protection period. We regularly renew trade marks for our clients and also ensure the best possible protection in the interests of our clients - for example, by limiting the scope of protection if it is no longer required in the form for which it was originally registered. In this way, our clients receive exactly the trade mark they actually want.
And should the trade mark no longer be of use, we also advise our clients on possible sales opportunities and support them in drafting contracts up to the conclusion and implementation of the contract (transfer of trade mark rights, re-registration of the trade mark with the trade mark offices, etc.).
Trade mark law is part of marketing
We would like to close by saying that trade marks are not only the figurehead of a company and an important marketing instrument, but also an important part of the company's assets, which should always be treated with the necessary care. We are happy to assist you in this regard!