Before you apply for trademark protection, we urgently advise you to conduct prior searches through LexDellmeier. As an owner of a trademark you are responsible not to infringe other parties’ older rights (e.g. older trademark names, company names, title or design rights).
Neither the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) nor the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) examine if older rights already exist by third parties (so-called “relative grounds of refusal). Prior trademark owners may therefore successfully file an injunction or send out a cease-and-desist letter via an attorney. This can be very costly and, in case an infringement is given, you will have to change your logo/trademark, reimburse the older trademark owner with respect to costs and potentially pay damages.
It is therefore extremely important to conduct prior trademark searches in order to considerably reduce the risk of infringing the rights of an older trademark owner. Be aware that not only identical trademarks, but, also similar trademarks can infringe. Similar marks and an infringement is generally given, if the goods and services are identical or complementary and if the marks are either visually, phonetically or conceptually similar. Here an example: The older mark “Löwe” (meaning “lion” in German) was registered for “beer”. The younger mark “Lion” was registered for the services “operation of a restaurant”. Both marks are confusingly similar and an infringement would be given. Why? Because “Löwe” and “Lion” have the same meaning and are conceptually similar and the goods “beer” and the service “operation of a restaurant” are considered complimentary (beer is sold in a restaurant) and therefore the marks would be considered confusingly similar.
The team at LexDellmeier stays at your disposal to help and advise you regarding the necessary prior identical and similarity (trademark) searches. Of course, we would be delighted advise you with respect to all aspects and furnish a cost-estimate up front.