Delimitation Agreements and Coexistence Agreements

If companies operating in similar business areas use similar signs, trademark collisions are often not avoidable. In some cases, trademark offices refuse to register signs due to a risk of confusion with an existing earlier trademark. In other cases, the brand owner notices such colliding signs only later, during a routine brand monitoring.

If there is agreement between the conflicting trademark owners, according to which there is in fact no real likelihood of confusion on the market - for example, because each undertaking uses a very clearly defined market without overlap - the initiation of costly opposition, cancellation or infringement procedure is not necessary.

In this case, it is advisable to conclude a delimitation and coexistence agreement. Here, the companies agree not to act against each other with regard to a particular sign, as long as the respective counterparty does not intrude its business area. Companies undertake to act only in a narrowly defined and clearly defined business area in order to avoid confusion in the future. The territorial validity of the agreement is also a key factor.

In particular, when the signs are umbrella marks of a company, such agreements have to be worked out very carefully. We would be pleased to support you with our expertise. On request, we can also provide you with attorneys-at-law who are familiar with the formulation of such agreements.

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