A trademark is an examined industrial property right with an initial term of 10 years (renewals for additional 10 years periods are possible). Trademark protection can be attained for signs which are capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one place of origin from those of other places of origin. The trademark is a sign helping to distinguish certain goods and services of one place of origin from those of other places of origin. It directly points at the product or service, but only indirectly points at the place of origin. Such signs may be words, slogans, pictures, colors, three-dimensional representations, sounds or even odors.

A trademark must be capable of being represented graphically which also applies to acoustic signs or three-dimensional signs. Trademarks which consist exclusively of signs or indications which may serve, in trade, to designate the kind, quality, quantity, intended purpose, value, geographical origin or the time of production of the goods or of rendering of the services, or other characteristics of the goods or services, are excluded from registration. Other reasons which forbid registration of a mark are, for example, deception of the public about the nature, quality or geographical origin of the goods or services, or violations of the public order or good morals.

A trademark effective in Germany may be obtained through either a national German trademark application filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office or through a European Union trademark application effective in the whole European Union. Trademark protection may, furthermore, also be obtained for certain countries through an international trademark registration.