Conduct searches - not only before filing an application
Tips on searches
- Trade Mark Searches online (Information leaflet)
Trade mark searches are important, before filing a trade mark application and after the registration of a trade mark. Before filing a trade mark application, you can carry out a search to find out to the fullest extent possible, if your proposed trade mark does not infringe earlier rights.
Otherwise, a third party may file an opposition against your trade mark at the DPMA and the trade mark it might have to be cancelled. Your trade mark might also be challenged by a cease-and-desist order or actions brought before the civil courts.
After registration of your trade mark, you should regularly carry out searches for new registrations of other trade marks to be able to act against identical or similar trade marks on the basis of your earlier trade mark, thus defending your trade mark.
Please note that we do not check during the application procedure whether identical or similar trade marks have already been registered. If you own a registered trade mark, you should also watch it and defend it.
Searching in the databases of the DPMA
You can conduct free searches for German trade marks in DPMAregister. The database contains trade mark applications and registered and refused German national trade marks.
When searching in DPMAregister, please note that you can find trade marks with elements matching those of your intended trade mark, but it is not possible to conduct a similarity search. However, an opposition against the registration of your trade mark may also be filed on the basis of a similar trade mark. Various commercial search providers offer complex similarity searches.
Notice: In DPMAregister/Trade marks you can also search European Union trade marks (EM) and international registrations of marks (IR) enjoying protection in Germany. However: the DPMA does not warrant the accuracy and completeness of these data. For conducting a full search on trade marks enjoying protection in Germany and current legal status information, please use the databases of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Search for figurative elements of trade marks
Figurative elements of trade marks and pure figurative marks are also searchable. The international classification of the figurative elements of marks, the Vienna Classification, constitutes a hierarchical system that proceeds from the general to the particular, dividing all figurative elements into categories, divisions and sections.
Search for trade marks at the EUIPO and WIPO databases
Opposition against German trade marks may be based not only on earlier German trade marks but also on earlier EU trade marks or international registrations of marks enjoying protection in Germany. For this reason, your searches for conflicting earlier rights should cover EU trade marks and international registrations, too. You can carry out searches within the following EUIPO and of WIPO databases:
- eSearch plus: European Union trade marks
- Madrid Monitor: international registrations of marks (replaces ROMARIN database)
- TMview: EUIPO's search engine for trade marks and trade mark applications of all participating trade mark offices
- Global Brand Database: WIPO's search engine for trade marks and trade mark applications from national and international sources
Searching in the Internet, telephone directories, commercial registers, product directories ...
Furthermore, registered trade marks may infringe not only earlier registered trade mark but also other earlier signs, such as trade marks acquired by use, commercial designations and other rights used in trade. For this reason, you should also look for identical or similar signs in Internet search engines, telephone directories, commercial registers, publications on titles of works and/or business directories and other product directories.
Do you have any further questions?
- You can contact the central customer care and services of the DPMA (phone: +49 89 2195-1000).
- The search support database hotline (phone: +49 89 2195-3435) will be pleased to answer your questions on searches.
- Expert staff provide assistance in the search rooms of the DPMA in Munich and Berlin. There, all services offered by the DPMA are available to you.
- The patent information centres (Patentinformationszentren) also provide expert assistance to you.
- Searches are also offered by commercial information brokers and patent search agents which you can find via all major Internet search engines.
- The DPMA also offers workshops and seminars on IP searches and searches. You will find the dates on the events page.
- You can use the new online-assisted search. Here you meet virtually on the Internet with search experts of the DPMA who will support you individually in your search.
Picture 1: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic, Picture 2: iStock.com/TeerawatWinyarat
Last updated: 14 June 2023