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Trade mark

A trade brand, brand or registered trade mark - often called TM - comprises a sign and a well defined list of goods and/or services.

The major function of a trademark is the indication of origin, that is to save the assignment of the labeled goods and/or services to only one manufacturer/ service provider.

A sign for the trade mark could be a character, a word, a foreign-language term, a fancy term, several separated or grouped words - e.g. like a slogan - for a word mark. A picture as a sign of a logo, picture or figurative mark or in combination with a word sign is also suitable for a combined mark. Uncommon signs are a colour or several colors for a color mark, a sound, several sounds - for example as jingle - for a sound mark or an object for a three-dimensional mark.

The defined goods, the commodity group - in the form of a general term -, a specific good respectively specific goods or one or more services are grouped within the list according the nice classification. The registered trade mark protects only the labeling of the listed terms with that sign.

For an application neither that sign alone nor the goods or services have to be new . Furthermore the labeling can be in use several years before the user registers that label as a trademark as long as this application is not used for judical unfair trademark / competition purposes. Examples for this are a trademark filed by an agent, an ambush trademark or a blocking trademark.

The duration of protection is regularly limited up to ten years and can be prolongated for additional ten years again and again. Thus the trademark protection never ends in Germany, in the European Community or in the case of an international registered trade mark -presumed a prolongation/ renewal in due time- .

From publication the registration of the trademark on only the proprietor is entitled to use that sign for labeling the terms of the list of goods and/or services. In the case of infringement to be judged by trademark law of this exclusive right of use in germany discontinuance of use and recovery of damages can be claimed.

The registered trade mark as well as a trademark application can be sold or distrained. With a trademark licence the circle of legal users of the trademark can be enlarged or altered. This exclusive right of use regularly ends with placing the labeled good or service on the market - e.g. selling - within the EEA, as long as this is done with consent of the proprietor. This exhaustion of a german trademark occurs in germany on delivery into the european community.

The exhaustion plays a main role in case of transborder facts. Examples are the seizure by customs of reimported or "grey imported" goods from USA, Canada or Australia or of assumed branded goods, which were bought as a "bargain" during a holiday trip.

Please note the Legal Notices.