German trademark application vs. EU trademark application or registration: Difference trademark protection in Germany or trademark protection in Europe (EU / European Union)?

You are wondering whether you should opt for a German trademark application or a EU trademark application (European Union trademark registration), i.e. whether you should apply for trademark protection in Germany or a trademark protection in Europe (the European Union / EU)? Our German Patent Law Firm and IP Law Firm with Patent Attorney (German Patent Lawyer and European Patent, Trademark and Design Attorney) and “Trademark Lawyer” (German Attorney, Certified IP lawyer) will be happy to help you if you want to apply for or register a German trademark or a EU trademark and we will also show you the differences and similarities.

Either contact us or inform yourself directly on the very pages about our respective offers:

In the following, we present the most important similarities and differences to help you with the decision German trademark or EU trademark / Union trademark / “European trademark”.

Similarities German trademark vs. EU trademark / Union trademark:

  • Possibilities for protection: Protection for terms / words (apply for word mark / protect a name / “patent a name”), logos (figurative mark application / protect logo / “patent a logo”), combination of logo and word (protect word-figurative mark / word and device mark / word mark containing figurative elements), 3D mark, sound mark, etc.
  • Protection requirements and protection obstacles / grounds for refusal almost identical
  • Use obligation as well as grace period for non-use five years after expiration of opposition period / end of opposition proceeding
  • Initial duration of trademark registration: 10 years from filing date
  • Maximum term of trademark protection: can be extended as long as desired (by 10 years at a time)

Differences between a trademark protection in Germany (German trademark) and a “trademark protection in Europe” (“EU trademark” / Union trademark / formerly: Community trademark):

  • Local scope of protection:

A German trademark is protected in the Federal Republic of Germany alone, whereas a EU trademark is protected in all member states of the European Union. The scope of protection of a EU trademark is therefore significantly larger than that of a German trademark and includes not only Germany but also all other EU member states. (Note: Non-EU countries such as Switzerland or the United Kingdom (Great Britain / England) are not covered. However, if you want to apply for a Swiss trademark or apply for an English trademark, we can also help you with this matter.)

  • Responsible Trademark Office or Patent and Trademark Office:

The competent Trademark Office or Patent and Trademark Office for trademark protection in Germany (German trademark application) is the German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich (GPTO / DPMA), while the European Intellectual Property Office in Alicante (EUIPO) is responsible for a EU trademark application.

  • German Trademark Costs vs. EU Trademark Costs:

The official fees or costs for a German trademark or German trademark application are lower than the official fees or costs for a EU trademark (Union trademark application), but its local scope of protection is significantly smaller.

  • Number of classes covered by basic fee:

The basic fee of a German trademark includes three classes, while the basic fee of a EU trademark includes only one class and each additional class leads to additional costs.

  • Procedure and duration of trademark registration GPTO vs. procedure and duration of trademark registration at the EUIPO:

* German trademark application process at GPTO: German Trademark Office examines for absolute grounds for refusal, if no objection / refusal, then registration and transmission of the certificate, followed by publication and start of the three-month opposition period.

* EU trademark application process at EUIPO: European Trademark Office publishes trademark application after positive examination, then three-month opposition period and registration only after its expiry and if no opposition has been filed.

→ A German trademark (DE trademark) is therefore usually registered faster than a EU trademark. Trademark registration of a German trademark normally takes about six weeks, while EU trademark registration takes at least 4 months

  • Possibility to obtain registration as soon as possible:

* For German trademark application: Possibility of acceleration by paying additional official fees (→ accelerated proceeding / express trademark).

* In case of EU trademark application: “fast track application” only if selected goods and services match the classified terms, which may limit flexibility.

  • Possible grounds for opposition:

Possible grounds for opposition in the case of a German trademark application are only signs / trademarks with protection in Germany (German trademark, EU trademark as well as international trademark with protection in Germany and at EU level). In contrast, the possible grounds for opposition against a EU trademark application are all signs claiming protection in the European Union (national trademarks of the member states as well as EU trademarks and respective international trademarks). The risk of an opposition is therefore much higher for EU trademarks than for a German trademark application.

Is a German trademark or a EU trademark better?

It cannot be generally stated whether a German trademark or a EU trademark is better. Rather, it always depends on the individual case and the intended use of the trademark. If the trademark is to be used in other European countries in addition to Germany, a EU trademark is often the one to choose.

Regardless of whether you want to apply for a German trademark or a EU trademark, the trademark protection in Germany or Europe brings various advantages. Our German Patent and Trademark Law Firm has filed hundreds of trademarks in Germany and Europe in recent years and will be happy to assist you with your trademark protection as well.