Trademarks protect the identification of products or services of an individual, business organisation or other legal entity. Names, words, logos, symbols, designs, images can all be protected as trademarks. There is also a range of non-conventional trademarks which do not fall in one of these categories, e.g. trademarks based on sound or taste. The protection of a trademark orginates from either registration or exceptional commercial value. In the latter case, the goods or services sold under the trademark must occupy a highly significant position in the marketplace. There is no limit to the term of registered trademarks but fees have to be paid at regular intervals to maintain the registration.. For registration, a list of goods and services for which protection is sought has to be provided. During the registration process, the so-called absolute requirements are examined, e. g. the trademarks cannot be merely descriptive of the particular goods and services. The existence of identical or similar former trademarks (so-called relative requirements) is not examined by the German Patent and Trademark Office and the European Trademark Office (EUIPO). However the owners of such former trademarks could seek to prohibit the use of later trademarks and seek damages damages so it is recommended to carry out a search for identical or similar trademarks before registration is applied for.