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Trademark research

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Do your research - not just before registering

Trademark searches are important before filing and after registering a trademark.

Before registering a trademark, you can conduct research to determine as far as possible whether your planned trademark does not infringe any earlier rights.
Otherwise, a third party can raise an objection to your trademark at the DPMA and the trademark may be deleted. You can also proceed against your trademark with a warning or with lawsuits in civil courts.

After your trademark has been registered, you should regularly research new registrations of other trademarks in order to take action against identical and similar trademarks from your earlier trademark and thus defend your trademark.

Please note that we do not check during the registration process whether similar or identical trademarks are already registered. If you own a registered trademark, you should also monitor and defend it.

Search in the DPMA databases

You can search for German trademarks in the DPMAregister free of charge. The database contains pending, registered and rejected national German trademarks.

When doing your research, please note that although you can find trademarks with matching elements of your planned trademark in the DPMAregister, a similarity search is not possible. An objection to the registration of your trademark can also be made for a similar trademark. Complex similarity searches are offered by various commercial research service providers.

Note: In DPMAregister / Marken you can also research Union trademarks (EM) and internationally registered trademarks (IR) with protective effect for Germany. But: The DPMA does not guarantee the correctness and completeness of this data. For a complete search on trademarks with protective effect in Germany and current legal status information, please use the databases of the Office of the European Union for Intellectual Property (EUIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Search for image components of brands

Image components of brands and purely figurative marks can also be researched. The international classification of the figurative components of trademarks, the "Vienna Classification", consists of a hierarchically structured system that goes from general to detail and divides all figurative components into categories, sections and subsections.

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Not only contradictions from older German trademarks, but also from older Union trademarks or with a protective effect for Germany can be raised against a German trademark. Therefore, your searches for conflicting earlier rights should also include EU trademarks and IR trademarks. You can search for this in the databases of EUIPO and WIPO:

  • eSearch plus: Union trademarks
  • Madrid Monitor: Internationally registered trademarks (replaces ROMARIN database)
  • TMview: Search engine of the EUIPO for trademarks and trademark applications of all participating trademark offices
  • Global Brand Database: WIPO search engine for trademarks and trademark applications from national and international sources

Research on the Internet, telephone directories, commercial registers, product directories ...

In addition, registered trademarks can violate not only older register marks, but also other older marks such as usage marks, business names and other rights that are used in business dealings. You should therefore also look for identical or similar characters in Internet search engines, telephone directories, commercial registers, title protection advertisements and / or business and other product directories.

Do you have anymore questions?

  • You can contact the central customer service of the DPMA (phone: 089 2195-1000).
  • The database hotline research support (phone: 089 2195-3435) will be happy to answer your search questions.
  • Knowledgeable employees support you in the research rooms of the DPMA in Munich and Berlin. The entire range of DPMA services is available to you there.
  • You can also find expert help at one of the patent information centers.
  • Research is also offered by various commercial research service providers and patent reporters, which you can find on the Internet using the common search engines.
  • The DPMA also offers workshops on research into industrial property rights. You can find the dates on the event page.

Image 1: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic, Image 2: iStock.com/TeerawatWinyarat

As of March 26, 2021