(abbreviated Depon. or Dep.) is a term that was used in Germany but actually originated in France. The various parts of what we commonly know as Germany each had their own laws for protecting manufacturer rights. In parts of Prussia (to the left of the river Rhine) for example, the according laws until 1840 were based on the older French laws from 1811. Hence deponirt had the same meaning as the French déposer, namely to deposit. If you know a little German and are wondering: deponirt is not the result of a typo, it is merely the older form of writing deponiert.
The term deponirt or an abbreviation thereof simply declared that the product was protected by law and that a respective claim of ownership of the design or trademark had been verified through the local authorities and archived there for further reference.
Imperial Germany took up until 1874 to officially introduce the so-called Reichsmarkengesetz, a law which united and simplified the various forms of registration used in different parts of Germany. Based on that law, the central imperial office for trademark registrations RWZR was established in 1875; two years later, the different representatives also agreed on the Reichspatentgesetz which offered the same approach for patents, resulting in the founding of the Kaiserliches Patentamt for that cause.
All that said, never base a dating on the presence of a 'Dep.' addition alone. While this registration form became obsolete in Germany from 1875 onwards, it was still used elsewhere. On top of that, many manufacturers were reluctant to replace the well-known term with any other form of copyright notice as they feared that it would cause problems, some even continued to use the old marking until around 1890.
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