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.