Domain Names In Germany

The Patent-und Markenamt is the German office in charge of trademark registration. The current trademark law in Germany entered into force on April 1999. It protects trademarks; commercial designations; and indications of geographical origin. There are three ways through which a trademark may obtain protection in Germany, (1) by registration of a sign as a trade mark in the Register kept at the Patent Office; (2) through the use of a sign in the course of trade insofar as the sign has acquired a secondary meaning as a trade mark within the affected trade circles; or, (3) by notoriety as a trade mark within the meaning of Article 6bis of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention). This article provides an overview of German trademark law, including its current position regarding trademark laws and its use in domain names.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What constitutes commercial use?
What are the requirements for a claim against the unauthorized use?
What if domain names conflict with the right to bear a name?
What are the claims concerning unauthorized use of domains?


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