Single Inventor

German and European IP

Germany is a member state in all relevant international agreements, including

Therefore, Germany enables quick and inexpensive protection for overseas clients. A German local representative is – if not required – at least advisable. German is the Official language of the German and European Authorities, i.e. German Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, the European Union Intellectual Property Office and all relevant courts. We are admitted before all such authorities and have great experience with handling cases of our overseas clients.

There are some “specialities” of German IP, which you may find interesting:


German Patent


  • Substantive examination request can be delayed up to 7 years from date of filing
  • Search request optional at any time before examination
  • multiple depend claims possible
  • extra fees for more than 10 claims
  • first office action usually within 8 months from first filing (priority applications only)
  • no issue fee
  • opposition after grant within 9 months (new!) possible
  • electronic filing saves official fees

German Utility Model


  • No substantive examination, no declaration of inventorship, no summary – inexpensive and quick registration
  • Registration for 10 years (renewal after 3, 3 and 2 years)
  • Grace Period of 6 months before filing
  • Publications outside Germany are only considered regarding novelty if in written form
  • Requirements regarding inventive step are the same as with patents
  • Methods cannot be protected
  • Utility Models also available as national phase from European or PCT-Applications
  • electronic filing saves official fees

German Trademark


  • up to three classes of goods and services included in the basic fee
  • goods and services according to Nice Agreement
  • no search regarding earlier marks – a similarity search is highly advisable
  • descriptive or non-distinctive marks will be rejected
  • “Reminder”-Action enables re-examination before appealing a decision is necessary
  • electronic filing saves official fees
  • proof of use only after 5 years and only upon request by third party

German Design Registration


  • goods will not have any effect on scope of protection
  • multiple design application possible for up to 100 designs
  • registration without substantive examination
  • description optional
  • protection for maximum 25 years (renewal after every 5 years)
  • grace period of 12 months
  • electronic filing saves official fees

European Patent


  • Search request with application required
  • Substantive examination request and designation of countries within 6 months from publication of search report
  • designation of countries for more than 7 countries is free
  • multiple depend claims possible
  • considerable extra fees for more than 15 claims
  • issue fee and translation of the claims in all Official Languages (English, German, French) required in order to obtain the issued patent.
  • Countries must be selected for validation only after grant
  • opposition after grant within 9 months possible
  • electronic filing possible

European Union Trade Mark Registration


  • one class of goods and services included in the basic fee
  • all-or-nothing principle: either the mark is protected in all EU Memberstates or in none of them
  • goods and services according to Nice Agreement
  • search regarding earlier marks only automated in a few member states and earlier European Union trade marks
  • descriptive or non-distinctive marks will be rejected
  • electronic filing possible
  • proof of use only after 5 years and only upon request by third party
  • use in one member state sufficient to prove use

Community Design Registration


  • goods will not have any effect on scope of protection
  • multiple design application possible for an unlimited number of designs
  • registration without substantive examination
  • protection for maximum 25 years (renewal after every 5 years)
  • grace period of 12 months
  • electronic filing possible


Litigation

German Patent Attorneys (Patentanwalt) are admitted to represent clients before the Patent Offices, the Federal Patent Court and the German Federal High Court alone. In litigation before ordinary regional courts, however, an additional lawyer (Rechtsanwalt) not necessarily having a technical background, is required also. Therefore, there will be two representatives on both sides. The advantage is, that technical expertise of a patent attorney is combined with legal expertise and experience with the court by a (specialized) lawyer. Court proceedings in Düsseldorf are particularly recommendable for patent litigation due to the high expertise of the court and quick and relatively inexpensive proceedings.


Federal Patent Court

The Federal Patent Court handles appeals against decisions of the German Patent and Trademark Office and revocation proceedings for patents. The speciality about this court is that judges have a technical rather than a legal education. This makes decisions much more competent especially if patents with complex technical issues are involved.