Trademarks are intellectual property rights of significant economic importance. Brand strategies are a decisive part of every product strategy. This does not only include timely research in advance of product planning. Conflicts with other marks and the ensuing legal disputes, which occur after product launch, can be costly and may undermine entire marketing campaigns or even product strategies. In extreme cases, a company might even be forced to change its name.
Trademark rights are typically acquired by a formal registration in the trade mark register. German trademarks are dealt with by the German Patent and Trademark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt, DPMA), European Community trademarks are processed by the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante. A wider international trademark protection on the basis of the Madrid Agreement potentially offers protection in many parts of the world; this is ensured by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Business names as such and the names of natural persons are legally protected as well. Furthermore, titles of intellectual works can also enjoy Individual legal protection, such as titles of books, films, pieces of music, software including games and apps (work title protection).
Domain names on the internet as such do not confer a direct right, however, they may be attacked or defended through trademark and name rights as described.
The owner of trademark rights and protected names is entitled to prohibit the use of these or similar designations, wherever there is a likelihood of confusion, for similar or comparable goods and services by others. In case of infringement there may be claims for damages, payment of costs, destruction of pirated goods, and disclosure of information. Injunctions may be filed, take-down notices, cease and desist and warning letters may be sent.
In the field of trademark law we provide strategic advice and represent the interests of our clients in administrative procedures and in dealings with other market participants, in court or extrajudicially. We have long-standing experience in matters of consulting many notable businesses and brand owners, in terms of national and international application, contract negotiations and licensing, as well as in the enforcement of trademark and naming rights and in the prosecution of infringements and the defense against unfounded allegations.
Dr. Marcus Dittmann
Dr. Kay Wagner