How to get a trademark in Germany (hipi got one!)

How to get a trademark in Germany (hipi got one!)

After having been required to be part of Amazon’s Brand Registry in order to buff up hipi‘s product listing, its creator Su-Lin Chee applied for a trademark from the Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (German Patent and Brand Office). She recounts the process below.

Just as with the German utility patent (which I wrote about here), I was not very keen to get a trademark. Besides not wanting to stump up the costs, I am not a big fan of using the legal system to control market forces.

However, a kind neighbour in Munich offered to feature the bag on his affiliate links website but said that hipi‘s listing on Amazon needed first to be fleshed out with more information.

It turns out that in order to “unlock a suite of tools designed to help you build and protect your brand, creating a better experience for customers”, I needed to be part of Amazon’s Brand Registry, which in turn required me to prove a trademark to my product.

In truth as well, while a cute name like hipi can be of course thought up by anyone, I had invested quite a bit into the publicising this brand and I did feel I have the rights to reap from this exercise, hence the final application.

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Yes, the certificate (“Urkunde”) for the trademark looks very similar to that for the utility patent 🙂

Long story short, applying for a trademark is way easier than applying for even a utility patent. The main steps are:

  1. Go to https://direkt.dpma.de/marke/ and fill out your details (you don’t have to apply as a business entity and can apply as an individual) as well as your product category.
  2. The main question is whether you want to apply to protect the word itself (“Wortmarke”), in my case “hipi”, or the logo, which is essentially a graphical image. According to my research, protecting the word itself gets you more coverage that protecting the logo, so I went for that.
  3. Pay the specific fees, which were in my case 290€.
  4. I received the physical certificate (“Urkunde”) in about 2 months.

Of course, most people would say, if you wanted to protect your brand in Germany, you might as well apply for a trademark in Europe, which would have cost 850€ in one class (which I think is a product category). But that was just a bridge too far for me, as a cost.

So yes, overall, I am quite pleased I applied for the trademark. It was quick and easy, and I get another certificate to hang on the wall. Now all I have to do is go through that bleeding Amazon brand registry application 🙂

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