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The trademark is a registered property right with which, inter alia, designations for goods can be effectively protected. Services can also be protected under a trademark, such as for example those of banks, travel agents, driving schools or hotels.

The following can be registered as trademarks: word marks, figurative marks, combined word/figurative marks, auditory marks, three-dimensional forms and distinctive packaging of goods, including their colours. Purely descriptive indications such as for example ‘feather-light’ or ‘fireproof’ and promotional statements such as ‘super’ or ‘great’ cannot be registered as trademarks, however.

A trademark lives on its reputation. The better known a trademark is, the greater the risk that competitors will come up with something similar to it or even copy it. You can only prevent this if you file an application for your trademark in good time. Otherwise, you have no protection in practice: in the worst case scenario, a competitor company which enters the market with an identical product and the same name is able to register as a trademark the sign used before you do, and is able to prohibit you, the actual creator of the name, from continuing to use it.     

If you wish to start using a trademark or a new company name, you should check in advance whether you would be infringing existing third-party rights. I am happy to undertake searches in this regard and to evaluate them for you.

Scope of application of a trademark: identification of goods or services of an undertaking. A few examples: the word sign ‘Persil’, the ‘Mercedes star’ as a figurative sign and the ‘Bayer cross’ as a combined word/figurative mark.

Term of protection: a trademark is registered for ten years and can be renewed for a further 10 years as many times as desired, in return for payment of a renewal fee to the relevant office.