Plagiarism and counterfeit products cause immense economic damage within the European Union. This makes it all the more important for businesses to take consistent measures to protect their trade marks.

According to a report by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), counterfeit products and plagiarism are responsible for annual losses to the tune of some 60 billion euros within the EU. In Germany alone, the annual loss incurred by manufacturers as a result of product piracy is approx. 8.3 billion euros. The report details that the classic examples of counterfeit products are still leather goods, watches, shoes, perfume and cosmetics. That being said, many other products are also affected by counterfeiting.

Unfortunately, there is expected to be an increase in the number of counterfeit products going forward. This is infuriating not only for consumers who fall victim to counterfeiting or plagiarism but also manufacturers of branded products. They incur a substantial economic loss as well as potentially damage to their image due to the inferior quality of counterfeit branded products. We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that this demonstrates the huge importance for businesses of effective trade mark protection and prosecuting trade mark infringements, and that these issues will become increasingly significant in future. Our lawyers have a great deal of experience in the field of trade mark law and prosecuting trade mark infringements.

The first step is to assess whether the mark has the distinctive character required for its registration as a trade mark. It is then necessary to determine the territorial scope of trade mark protection – whether it be domestic, EU wide or extend beyond the borders of the EU – and file trade mark registration applications accordingly.

To protect the mark, it is necessary to take consistent action against trade mark infringements. Examples of possible legal measures include formal written warnings, but also injunction suits and damages claims. Businesses can turn to lawyers who are experienced in the field of intellectual property law in order to protect their trade mark rights and be able to react appropriately in response to infringements.

On the other hand, it is possible for existing trade marks rights to be infringed completely unwittingly. Legal expertise is equally important in these instances.