A Global and Local Outlook
Edited by Irene Calboli and Jacques de Werra
Chapter 16: TRADEMARK TRANSACTIONS IN GERMANY: A CONTINENTAL EUROPEAN SYSTEM MOVES TOWARDS COMMON UNDERSTANDING WITH THE US
Trademark transactions are part of everyday practice in Germany, and are governed by different statutory provisions under European Union Law (EU law) and German law. Under German law, specific rules under German trademark law exist, but statutes from the General Civil Law also apply. The following outline gives an overview of these existing legal rules and furthermore takes a look into different typical agreements, such as purchase agreements, license agreements, and coexistence agreements, including a view from antitrust law, as well as trademarks in mergers and acquisitions transactions and trademark securities. From a German law perspective, the word ‘transaction’ is a broader term than contract. A contract is a transaction, but a transaction is not necessarily a contract. Since a commercial transaction is essentially an agreement between two or more parties to enter into a commercial relationship that involves any kind of exchange of items of value, the relevant laws and legal issues will therefore depend on a number of factors. The same applies when transferring one of the most valuable assets of a company: trademarks. Notwithstanding the high complexity of trademark transactions, a uniform transactions codex does not exist in Germany. Representing a federation of 16 states (Länder), each with its own constitution, government, and independent court system, Germany is operating a national trademark system; unlike, for instance, the Benelux trademark system that also provides a regional basis for trademark applications.
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