New design options for trademark applications

The German Act on the Modernization of the Trademark Law (Markenrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz, “MaMoG”) came into force on January 14, 2019. As a result, a new category of trade marks and signs of which a trade mark may consist has been introduced into German law. In addition, the act stipulates further amendments of the German trade mark law (namely absolute grounds for refusal, opposition proceedings). The MaMoG implements Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and Council of 16.12.2015.

The new category in trade mark law is the “guarantee or certification mark”. Under this category, a trade mark will be protected which is capable of distinguishing goods or services which are certified by the proprietor of the mark in respect of material, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics, from goods and services which are not so certified. The need for such a trade mark has been apparent in practice for a long time, as evidenced by numerous registrations of quality labels as marks for goods in combination with services such as quality inspection or certification with the German Patent and Trademark Office in the past.

The new signs of which a trade mark may consist became possible because the trade mark law no longer requires, as a precondition for a registrable trademark, that the sign be graphically presentable. Rather, it is now sufficient that the subject-matter of the protection can be clearly and unambiguously determined by the competent authorities and the public. This allows for a trade mark to be represented on the register by means of common audio and image file formats in particular. The currently applicable uniform brand forms upon which the European offices have largely agreed are the classic brand forms (word mark, figurative mark, word/figurative mark, three-dimensional mark, colour mark) as well as the brand forms sound mark (previously audio mark), position mark, sample mark, movement mark, hologram brand, multimedia brand and other brand. Besides, the German code mark remains in force unchanged.

DANCKELMANN UND KERST provide comprehensive state-of-the-art advice and legal representation in the area of ​​trade mark law. Please contact our IP department, represented by three IP partners and their team, for further information.“

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