German trade mark registration
Register a trademark in Germany to protect your business from counterfeiters as well as to make it recognisable within the market. Germany is associated with quality and reliability. This is why products protected under the German trademark law have credibility among consumers.
A trademark is registered by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA). Any person or legal entity located in Germany as well as its representative can register a trademark.
Trademarks in Germany can be protected in the following ways:
- letters, numbers, words (the highest level of protection);
- images: can be in black-and-white (in this case, business competitors will not be able to use the graphical image by changing a colour scheme);
- image and colour scheme (in this case, competitors can use the same image but with a different colour scheme).
There are 45 classes of goods, according to which you can protect your products. You can choose how to register a trademark: either according to the German register (protection only in Germany), according to the European register (25 states), or according to the international register (25 European states and additional countries of your choice). A German trade mark can be registered in about 44 days
An “identity” or similarity test for a trademark will be made according to the register of the countries where the trademark will be registered and protected under local trademark laws. Trademark registration in Germany takes about 3 months from the filing fee payment date; international trademark registration takes about 6 months.
Patent in Germany
Apart from trademarks, you can also patent scientific inventions and protect industrial designs (Gebrauchsmuster). Scientific inventions are protected by patent law for 20 years, and industrial designs for maximum 10 years. In Germany, patents are regulated by the following laws: Patentgesetz, Gesetz über Arbeitnehmererfindungen (Law on Employee Inventor Compensation), Gebrauchsmustergesetz (Utility Model Act), Geschmacksmustergesetz (Law on the Legal Protection of Designs), Gesetz über den Schutz der Topographien von mikroelektronischen Halbleitererzeugnissen (Law on the Protection of Topographies of Microelectronic Semiconductor Products), and Sortenschutzgesetz (Plant Variety Protection Act).
Patents are granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, included in the Patent Register and published in the Patent Bulletin. After you submit an application, you must pay patent-related fees to the Department of State.
In Germany, you can also file an application for an international patent or for patenting your product within the European Union.
In order to register a trademark or to patent your inventions in Germany, it is advisable to contact specialists with the relevant practical experience. Mistakes in the execution of the documents may lead to a loss of time and money, as application fees are not refundable.