Germany’s New Marks Act (the “Act”) for the protection of marks and other signs came into force on January 1, 1995. The Act follows the EC Directive on Harmonization of Trademark Laws within the Member States, together with certain other EC Directives concerning trademarks and related rights, and constitutes a comprehensive revision of the old German Trademark Law, which dates, with amendments, from the year 1894. The Act governs trademarks, service marks, collective marks, as well as trade designations, company names and geographical indications.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What are the ways to secure rights in a mark under the Act?
What is the definition of a ‘trade design’ under the Act?
What rights does a trademark holder have with regard to the cancellation of a mark or a trade design under the Act?
In what cases may a trademark holder prevent the unauthorized use of a conflicting mark?


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