A title of work (e.g. the title of a book or a movie) is a trade designation. It characterizes, however, not an undertaking, but the concrete product. In contrast to the trademark the work title distinguishes a work from other works, however, not in view of the origin thereof, but in view of the contents and the quality.
An essential difference over the registered mark resides in that the protection for a title of work is not obtained by a registration, but by starting the use thereof, provided that the work title is distinctive or has acquired secondary meaning. The title protection is, therefore, only limited to the territory where said criteria are fulfilled, whereas the protection of a registered mark takes effect in the whole Republic of Germany as soon as it is registered, even if it has not been used as yet.
A special feature in connection with the protection of work titles is that a priority can be secured by means of a title protection advertisement already before the use thereof is started, i.e. prior to the publication of the work, provided that the work is published under the proclaimed title within a reasonable short term.
Title protection can be obtained, for example, for the title of a printed work, a film, a sound production, a stage play, a radio or TV program or a game.
Prior to starting the use of a title, a title search should be carried through so as find out as to whether others have already gained protection for the title in question.