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Company Names

Company names belong in the group of marks of an undertaking. Marks of an undertaking are marks which are used in commercial trade as a name, as a company or, in particular, as the designation of a business enterprise or undertaking. Examples are "Wincor Nixdorf", "IBM", "VW", etc. Marks of an undertaking equate with trademarks according to the Trademark Act. Unlike trademarks for which an application for registration must be made at the German Patent and Trademark Office, marks of an undertaking gain protection by coming into use.

The equivalence of marks of an undertaking and trademarks may bring them into conflict. When selecting a new company name, trademarks should therefore also be included in the search.

It is always recommendable for a company name or a special business designation to be filed as a trademark as well. Thus, the new company name is often established long before the commercial operation of an undertaking begins. Here, trademark protection ensures prompt protection which begins at the application date of the trademark. In the event of possible future arguments, the trademark makes it easy to demonstrate the seniority of the start of protection.