A trademark is a sign being capable of distinguishing goods and services of one enterprise from those of other undertakings. The main function of a trademark is to indicate the origin of related goods or services. By way of a trademark a consumer is enabled to recognize products and services of a particular quality.
A trademark confers on its proprietor an exclusive right to use the trade mark and to prevent third parties to use, without consent, the same or a similar mark for identical or similar goods and/or services as those protected by the trademark. Trademarks can be obtained by registration through a trademark office, such like the German Patent– and Trademark Office (DPMA) or the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), acting as official trademarks and designs registration office of the European Union.
The registration procedure includes an examination on absolute grounds for a refusal. Generally, a trademark is registered, if it is inter alia not devoid of any distinctive character or does not have to be kept free for competitors. A Trademark registration is granted for a term of 10 years from the filing date of the respective trademark application. The registration can be repeatedly renewed for further periods of 10 years upon payment of respective renewal fees.