Do I Need to Register My International Brand or Logo in Germany and/or the EU?

by ZELLER & SEYFERT

Whether you have a start-up, a solo enterprise, or an established corporation, you might be wondering what steps to take to protect your logo or your brand in Germany. If you are an international business, you will want to protect your logo and your brand and prevent infringement while operating your business in Germany and throughout the European Union. Our law firm is experienced in helping new and established companies to protect their logos and branding in Germany, the EU, and internationally. We will also intervene and take necessary legal action where there is a case of trademark infringement.

Using an international logo for branding in Germany or the EU

If you have a logo you have been using for an international brand on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media and want to protect it from infringement in Germany and/or the EU, you might need to register it with the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office. This will ensure that your logo is recognized and protected in Germany and throughout the European Union. It will also ensure that you have standing to file a claim in the event of trademark infringement. We are experienced in handling trademark applications and conflicts in Germany before the German Patent and Trademark Office as well as European Trademark applications and disputes before the EUIPO, including:

  • Applications for trademarks and procurement of trademark certificates
  • Renewal of trademark registrations, maintenance
  • Transfer of trademark applications and registrations
  • Cancellation of trademarks
  • Berechtigungsanfrage or authorization inquiries
  • Abmahnung or warning letters due to trademark infringement
  • Cease and desist letters
  • Penalty collections for violations of cease and desist letters
  • Unterlassungserklärung or declarations to cease and desist
  • Litigation or lawsuits, including defense, regardings trademark infringements

Creative trademark consulting and strategies

If you have a new business and want to develop a logo that is protected under German trademark law, we can help. Understanding the requirements and limitations of German and European trademark law, we provide consulting services to help you develop a logo that will fit statutory requirements. In this process we can help you ensure that your logo is protected, help file your trademark application, draft contracts regarding trademark use, create licensing agreements, and help you ensure that your logo and brand are protected against infringement.

What trademarks and designs are protected in Germany?

Branding and trademarks may include a name, logo, a slogan, or any combination of these words and figurative marks. If you have designed a logo or other branding content and are looking for legal protection, you can protect your logo by registering it as a trademark. In some cases, logos are already protected, even without registration if they are well-known. The DPMA will determine whether your trademark is eligible for protection pursuant to Section 8 of the German Trademark Act (Markengesetz).

What if I already have an existing trademark in the U.S., Australia, China, or another country?

If you have an existing trademark, you will still need to file for trademark protection in Germany, however, it is likely that your logo already complies with the legal requirements and you won’t have to make any significant changes to your trademark. We can also assist you in preparing an application to protect your name/logo as an EU trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

What is the difference between a trademark and a registered design?

If you want to use your logo to mark your goods and services offered by your enterprise, you should seek protection as a trademark, which has a very broad definition and protection. If your logo is too generic or plain, it may in rare situations not qualify for trademark protection, so make sure that your logo is particularly unusual or “fanciful.”

In addition, you may protect and register your logo as a design. A design protects the two-dimensional or three-dimensional quality of a logo or product, including color, shape, texture, or material of the product itself. For most businesses, trademark protection is the most relevant when you are looking to protect a logo, design, slogan, or other branding related content. The protection of the design quality of your logo or product may be useful as an additional layer of protection.

Contact a logo and trademark protection attorney in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich to protect your trademark rights in Germany and the European Union

Please contact Atty. Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. for any support with your trademark protection issues. You may reach him via e-mail (seyfert@zellerseyfert.com) or on +49 69 58 80 972-40 (Frankfurt am Main) or +49 30 40 36 785-80 (Berlin).

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