Trade marks are used to identify goods or services. This enables a consumer to recognize and categorize a product or a service and to distinguish it quickly and easily from other goods or services. Words and logos in particular, but also shapes of goods, colours or sounds can be registered as trade marks. It is essential that a trade mark must be suitable to distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of other companies.
A trade mark is registered for certain goods and services that are categorized into classes. After the trademark is registered, its owner can exclude third parties from using the registered trade mark for the registered goods and services in business transactions without his consent. The protection lasts for 10 years and can be extended as often as required by paying a fee.
During the registration procedure, the formal aspects and absolute grounds for refusal of trademark registration are verified. Possibly existing older rights of third parties, e.g. older trade marks, are not researched or evaluated. In particular, based on such older rights, a registered trade mark can be deleted as part of an opposition (shortly after registration) or at any time as part of a cancellation request. Such a request can only be filed by the rights holder.