Patents, trademarks, designs - what are the differences?
Patents shall be granted for technical inventions which are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application.
A trademark is a sign which can distinguish the goods and services of one undertaking from those of another. Words, letters, numbers, and pictures, sounds and three-dimensional configurations and other packaging may be protected as trade marks, provided they comply with the provisions of the Trade Mark Law.
A sign can be protected as a trademark by recording it in the register kept at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. In order to apply for registration it is necessary to file a request giving certain details.
What are the filing requirements?
- Name and complete address of the applicant.
- List of goods and/or services.
- Representation of the mark
- No examples are required for word marks if no particular typeface is to be protected
- For a word/device mark, a device mark, or a colored mark, four identical two-dimensional representations are required.
- For three-dimensional marks, four identical two-dimensional views are required. These views may be filed as photographs or as line drawings. Up to six plain views of the mark may be filed. This also applies to thread marks.
- Acoustic marks must be filed on a sound carrier together with four identical representations of the mark in sheet music (or, should this not be possible, four sonograms).
In cases b) to d), we require one additional representation of the mark for our files.
- If convention priority is claimed
- Priority data: date, country and serial number(s) of the basic application(s).
- Uncertified copy (copies) of the basic application(s) or priority document(s).
The design of products and of packaging and advertising goods has gained an ever increasing importance for the market position of companies of all branches. Generally, protection of a design patent is achieved through registration with a competent authority in each country where protection is desired. Additionally, under the Hague agreement, a procedure for an international registration is offered based on a single international deposit. Moreover, starting April 01, 2003 design protection may also be achieved throughout the European Union by a single deposition with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) at Alicante, Spain.