Conduct trademark searches – not only before filing a trademark application but also after trademark registration
Trade mark searches are important. They are the only way to check if your proposed trade mark does not infringe earlier rights. Even after registration you should regularly carry out searches in order to efficiently defend your trade mark.
The DPMA does not check if there is another trade mark that is identical or similar to your sign. For this reason you should check, before filing a trade mark application, whether the trade mark selected does not infringe third party rights. Otherwise, an opposition might be lodged at the DPMA against your trade mark and it might have to be cancelled. Your trade mark might also be challenged by cease-and-desist orders or actions brought before the civil courts.
If you own a registered trade mark, you should look after it and protect it. Trade mark searches, conducted at regular intervals, will help you. They provide information on newly registered trade marks and allow you to judge faster, for example, whether there is a likelihood of confusion with your trade mark. If so, you can initiate opposition or cancellation procedures in time.
Trademark searches within the databases of the DPMA
In DPMAregister you can conduct German trade marks searches. The database contains trade mark applications, and registered and refused German national trade marks.
Searches in the database are free of charge.
When searching in DPMAregister, please note that you can find trade marks with features matching those of your trade mark application, but it is not possible to conduct a similarity search in DPMAregister. An opposition against your trade mark may also be filed on the basis of a similar trade mark. Various service providers will conduct complex similarity searches.
Searching EUIPO and WIPO databases
Opposition against national trade marks may be based on earlier national trade marks but also on earlier Union trade marks or international registrations with national effect. For this reason, your searches for conflicting earlier rights should cover Union trade marks and international registrations, too. You can carry out searches within the following databases of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
- eSearch plus: Union trade marks
- ROMARIN: international registrations (Database will no longer be available starting late 2017!)
- Madrid Monitor: International Trademarks (replaces ROMARIN)
- TMview: EUIPO’s search engine for trade marks and trade mark applications of all participating trade mark offices
- Global Brand Database: WIPO’s search engine for trade marks and trade mark applications from national and international sources (work in progress)
Telephone directories, commercial registers, product directories…
Furthermore, names and logos, used in trade, may infringe other trade mark rights even if they have not been entered in a trade mark register. For this reason, you should also look for identical or similar names in Internet search engines, telephone directories, commercial registers, publications on titles of works and/or business directories or other product directories.
Searches for terms of goods and services
A trade mark is registered for specific goods and services. You must precisely indicate the goods and services to be identified by the trade mark. For this reason, your application must contain a list of the relevant goods and/or services. You can use the Suche (search engine for goods and services) of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office for this purpose.
Detailed information on the Nice Classification is available at http://www.wipo.int/classifications/nice/en/index.html.