The road to your trade mark registration

First, the Trade Mark Sections of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office make sure that all required data, for example, applicant, trade mark and the list of goods and services have been received. However, processing of the trade mark application only starts after full payment of fee for the application.

Then, the Trade Mark Sections examine whether the trade mark applied for could be excluded from registration because of absolute grounds for refusal. In particular, all words that merely describe the goods or services (for example, “apples” for fruit) are regarded as a criterion for exclusion, based on which a trade mark cannot be registered.

There is no right to registration in these cases, even if the same or a similar trade mark has already been registered in the Trade Mark Register at an earlier date. The decision in each individual case is taken on the basis of the Trade Mark Act (Markengesetz) alone.

If the application complies with the legal requirements and if there are no grounds for refusal, the DPMA enters the trade mark in the Register. The registration is published in the electronic Trade Mark Journal (Markenblatt). The proprietor receives a certificate of registration.

Renewal of trade mark protection

The duration of protection of the registered trade mark starts on the date of filing and ends after ten years, on the last day of the month in which the filing date falls. You can renew trade mark protection for further periods of ten years. For an overall renewal of your trade mark it is sufficient to pay the renewal fees.

The renewal fees fall due on the last day of the month in which the duration of protection ends and should be paid without surcharge until the end of the second month after the due date. If you wish to pay the fees only after the end of the second month, you can still make the payment until the expiry of the sixth month after the due date, but you have to pay a surcharge for late payment, which has to be paid in addition to the renewal fees.

Please also note: The renewal fees may be paid one year before expiry of the duration of protection at the earliest. If the renewal fees are not paid or if the payment is insufficient, the trade mark right will lapse.