Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: What is Trademark Law?

Trademark law protects the rights of trademark holders in Germany (German trademarks), within the European Union (EU trademarks) and internationally (international trademarks). A trademark is a legally recognised word mark, a distinctive logo containing words, an individual and/or distinctive design or product which distinguishes the work or branding of one company from another. As an example, should a large company develop a new marketing campaign centered around a certain logo or product, they would trademark said logo or product at the relevant Trademark authority to ensure their intellectual property has been recognised in law. This gives the trademark holder the legal power to potentially stop another company using this, or very similar variations, of this intellectual property to their financial gain.

It is therefore easy to see why trademark law is important and is one of the most highly litigated legal issues in the world today. Trademark law, in simple terms, enforces your rights as a creator of intellectual property.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal Representation in Trademark Disputes

It does not matter if your company wants to enforce its trademarks or if your company wants to defend itself against trademark claims of others. It also does not matter if German trademarks, EU trademarks (EUTM) or internationally registered trademarks are at stake in the individual case: ZELLER & SEYFERT's trademark law attorneys will expertly represent your company in any constellation and in all forms of trademark litigation before German trademark courts, before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and before the German and EU trademark offices.

Within our litigation law firm, trademark law specialist Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA)will handle the trademark case of your company, be they basic trademark cases or highly involved and complicated situations. Christian is a Certified IP Lawyer and a Certified Copyright & Media Law Specialist. He has been handling trademark law questions and cases in Germany, in the EU and on an international scale for many years. To find out a bit more about Dr Seyfert’s experience and reflections on some of his Trademark Law cases, as well as the latest Trademark Law news, please review the Intellectual Property section of our Litigation blog.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal Representation before German Trademark Courts

In Germany, trademark cases are decided upon initially by two separate courts, either by the Federal Patent Court in Munich or by a commercial division at the local competent civil district court. This dichotomy has a long tradition in German trademark law and is based on the reasoning that decisions of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) shall be checked on appeal by a specially created court for that purpose, namely, the Federal Patent Court in Munich.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal representation before the Federal Patent Court in Munich

The Federal Patent Court in Munich has jurisdiction to decide about certain appeals in German trademark cases when an aggrieved party wants to check whether a certain decision of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) was accurate. Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA) has represented his clients for years in trademark lawsuits and general proceedings before the Federal Patent Court in Munich. The Federal Patent Court has jurisdiction over the following situations:

  • Decisions of the DPMA in opposition proceedings for cancellation of a registered trademark having a later priority
  • The DPMA renders a decision in which it refuses to register a trademark

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal representation before the German civil courts which are responsible for disputes on trademarks and other symbols in certain cases

Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA) regularly represents his clients also before the German civil courts, which are responsible for disputes on trademarks and other symbols in certain cases. In the following scenarios, the German civil courts are responsible in adjudicating over disputes on trademarks and other symbols:

  • Injunctive relief against the continued unauthorized use of trademarks

  • Requests for information from the infringer of your trademarks on the nature and extent of the unauthorized use of your trademarks (right to information)

  • Claims for damages to profits made by the infringer of your trademarks and compensation according to the license analogy principle (damages for infringement of your trademarks)

  • Claims against the trademark infringer to destruct or recall illegally manufactured or distributed products which have been illegally identified with your trademark (destruction and re-call rights concerning products which are in violation of your trademarks)

  • Claim against the trademark infringer to submit certain bank, financial or commercial documents (submission of certain documents)

  • Claim against the trademark infringer to tolerate the inspection of an object which is at the infringer's disposal if this is required to establish your rights as a trademark owner (right of inspection)

  • Claim to give notice of the court verdict in the trademark case to the public at the expense of the trademark infringer (publication of verdict)

  • Cancellation proceeding before the German trademark office and before the responsible German courts (cancellation for revocation of a trademark or because of the existence of earlier trademark rights)

  • Claim by means of a court action against the opponent that you as the trademark owner have a right to the trademark registration despite the cancellation of the registration by the German trademark office as a result of the opposition (action for the grant of registration)

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal representation before German courts of higher instances (German courts of last resort)

If it becomes necessary, our attorneys will proficiently represent your company before German courts of higher instances (German courts of last resort):

  • Appellate proceedings before the Federal Supreme Court in Germany against decisions of the Federal Patent Court

  • Appellate proceedings before all Higher Regional Courts in Germany against regional court decisions.

If your company has been up to now unsuccessfully represented in a trademark dispute by another law firm, it may be a good idea to change course and have the trademark case handled by a different law firm. We offer your company the chance to have an in depth analysis of your trademark case and provide your company a detailed expert legal opinion, should an appeal against the decision in the first instance have a reasonably good chance of success before an Appellate Court in Germany. Our attorneys have a great deal of experience in successfully handling appellate proceedings before German courts of higher instances and we would welcome the chance to fight for your rights before this legal body. Please contact us to have a discussion about your trademark case.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in the EU: Legal Representation before the General Court of the EU in Luxembourg

The decisions of the board of appeals for trademark matters with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) can be appealed to the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg. Our attorneys are familiar with representing clients in trademark matters before the General Court of the EU, having successfully represented multiple clients at this level. In our firm, our trademark law expert Attorney Dr. Christian Seyfert will handle your trademark case. Christian will expertly guide you through the intricacies of having your case appear before the General Court of the EU and will provide you his fair and expert opinion on your company's chances of success in the appellate proceeding before the General Court.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal Representation in Summary Proceedings (Speedy Trials)

Should any body or individual infringe upon your trademark rights, urgent legal action is required to stop further trademark violations, especially should said infringements be detrimental to your company. ZELLER & SEYFERT's trademark law attorneys will act quickly to enforce the trademark rights of your company and seek an immediate injunction in a speedy trial (summary proceeding) before the competent German trademark court. Very important and particularly urgent are the preliminary enforcements of certain rights to information on the nature and extent of the trademark violations. Furthermore, our attorneys will also quickly seek to enforce the submission of certain bank, financial or commercial documents of the trademark infringing party for the subsequent calculation of damages. ZELLER & SEYFERT will deal with the trademark matters of your company swiftly and seek prompt injunctive relief to the benefit of your company before the competent German trademark court.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Legal Representation before the German and EU Trademark Offices

ZELLER & SEYFERT's trademark attorneys in Germany will also represent your company in litigation before trademark offices, specifically before the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Essentially, there are the following trademark proceedings:

  • Trademark opposition procedures.

  • Trademark cancellation procedures for revocation of a trademark or because of absolute obstacles to trademark protection.

  • Appellate trademark proceedings before EUIPO.

Our attorneys will also represent your company in trademark litigation proceedings before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (Switzerland).

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Warning Letters – Legal Representation out of court

Trademark owners in Germany generally have the responsibility – according to German civil law – to first send a warning letter out of court to the trademark violating party. This warning letter will have three objectives:

  • To inform the trademark infringing party about their trademark violations

  • To seek a possible settlement between the parties

  • To ensure an end to the trademark violations going forward.

Rushing with a trademark lawsuit to a German trademark court without a prior request to the trademark violating party to cease and desist their trademark infringements may result in your company having to pay fees and costs for the entire lawsuit (court fees and attorney fees of both parties), even if your company later wins the trademark lawsuit. It is therefore highly important at this stage to engage an experienced professional trademark lawyer to instigate the process and send a carefully crafted warning letter. We at ZELLER & SEYFERT have penned many such letters and would gladly take on this responsibility on your behalf.

Attorneys for Trademark Law in Germany: Border Seizures Procedures in Germany (Customs)

Successful branded products are often cheaply and illegally pirated and counterfeited by product pirates. These pirates then try to smuggle said pirated products into the domestic market to the detriment of the trademark owners whose trademarks have been violated. Product piracy is a major issue in Germany and our attorneys will support your company in intercepting the counterfeited products at the German border, in co-operation with the German customs authorities. Our Trademark attorneys will then also have the pirated goods destroyed right at the border. In order to protect the trademarks and branded products of your company, our attorneys will initiate the appropriate border seizure procedures with the German customs authorities. They will manoeuvre your company through the German border seizure procedures and possible subsequent court proceedings from the beginning until their successful completion. For more information on border seizure procedures in Germany, please visit Border Seizure Procedures by the German Customs Authorities.

Your Contact Person in Trademark Law Matters

Do you have questions regarding German, EU and international trademark law? Your contact person with ZELLER & SEYFERT concerning issues related to trademarks, trademark protection and trademark litigation is Attorney at Law Dr. Christian Seyfert, LL.M. (USA). Christian is a Certified IP Law Specialist, a Certified Specialist for International Business Law and a Certified Copyright & Media Law Specialist. Please just contact Christian by e-mail (seyfert@zellerseyfert.com) or by phone (+49 (0)69-58 80 972-40) about your trademark issue.

 

Recommended links:

Bifurcation of judiciary responsibilities: Federal Patent Court and German Regional Courts

Regional Court in Hamburg: „PINK FLOYD“ vs. "PINK FREUD“ (Case 327 O 186/17) (in German language)

Higher Regional Court in Duesseldorf: Adjournment of trademark infringement proceeding because of priority of invalidity proceeding before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) (Case I-20 W 31/17) (in German language)

Our trademark law cases before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in the year 2016 (in German language)

EU trademark law: Representation of the U.S. market leader concerning tear-off windshields for motor sports cars (before the Regional Court in Koblenz) (in German language)

General Court of the EU (EGC): Decision in the trademark dispute KNUD ./. KNUT - THE ICE BEAR (Judgment of September 16, 2013, Case T‑250/10) (in German language)

Federal Patent Court: Word mark "GALERIA" is devoid of any distinctive character, but is trademark protected because it is established in trade (Judgment of July 9, 2013, Case 33 W (pat) 124/07) (in German language)

Federal Court of Justice of Germany: Trademark infringement in keyword advertising (Judgment of June 27, 2013, Case I ZR 53/12) (in German language)

Federal Patent Court: Name of a stadium may be registrable as a trade mark, despite its descriptive content - "stadium at the old forester" (Judgment of January 18, 2011, Case 27 W (pat) 158/10) (in German language)

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