Intellectual property rights (applying for a patent, registering a trademark, a drawing or a design, getting a licence for reproduction)

Information about Rights & Duties of #Patents and intellectual property

Information about Rights & Duties

Intellectual property rights (applying for a patent, registering a trademark, a drawing or a design, getting a licence for reproduction)

Patent application

  • A patent is an industrial property right that confers on its holder the exclusive right to their invention.
  • Patents may be granted for inventions in any field of technology.
  • Patents are granted for technical inventions that:
    • are novel;
    • involve an inventive step;
    • are industrially applicable.
  • In order to obtain a patent, an application for the invention must be filed with the DPMA.
  • That body examines, on application, whether a patent can be granted for the invention.
  • Independent applications are possible for businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is in Germany.
  • Businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is outside Germany must be represented by a person authorised to practise law/patent law in Germany.
  • Fee payable; processing time of 2.53 years.
  • Term of protection for a patent is up to 20 years, fee payable.
  • Relevant body: German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).

Registering a trade mark

  • Protection of your own trade mark by entry in the trade mark register.
  • Eligibility of the mark for trade marking, checking of the trade mark registration.
  • A trade mark essentially serves to identify goods and/or services.
  • Protection right for words, letters, numerals, figures, colours, holograms, patterns, tracers, motion marks, position marks, multimedia marks, three-dimensional formats, sounds or other signs, etc.
  • A thorough check must be carried out in advance as to whether similar or identical marks have already been registered.
  • Independent applications are possible for businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is in Germany.
  • Businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is outside Germany must be represented by a person authorised to practise law/patent law in Germany.
  • Fee payable, processing time: 34 months, if eligible for protection.
  • Trade mark protection initially lasts for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely, fee payable.
  • Relevant body: German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).

Registering a design

  • Protection of designs by entry in the design register.
  • Registered designs protect the format of two- or three-dimensional products (for example, materials, clothing, vehicles or furniture, but also logos and graphics).
  • The appearance is protected, i.e. the shape and colouring of products including lines, contours, surface structures, etc.
  • There is a registration fee.
  • Design protection only arises if the design has novelty and individual character at the time of registration (it is not examined when the design is entered in the design register).
  • For this reason, the applicant must find out beforehand if identical or very similar designs have already been published.
  • After entry in the design register, the owner of the design has the exclusive right to use the registered design and to prohibit third parties from using it without their consent.
  • Independent applications are possible for businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is in Germany.
  • Businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is outside Germany must be represented by a person authorised to practise law/patent law in Germany.
  • Design protection can be maintained for up to 25 years. (Maintenance of protection after 5 years in each case), fee payable.
  • Relevant body: German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).

Registering a utility model

  • Application for registration of a utility model for the invention, primarily formal checking of the utility model registration.
  • A utility model is an industrial property right that confers on its holder the exclusive right to their invention following their entry in the utility model register.
  • Technical inventions are eligible for protection if they
    • are novel;
    • are based on an inventive step;
    • are industrially applicable.
  • Novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability are not checked in the registration proceedings.
  • No utility model protection, in particular for process inventions.
  • Independent applications are possible for businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is in Germany.
  • Businesses whose domicile, registered office or place of business is outside Germany must be represented by a person authorised to practise law/patent law in Germany.
  • Application for registration, fee payable; processing time approx. 13 months.
  • Term of protection for a utility model is a maximum of 10 years. (Maintenance of protection after the 3rd, 6th and 8th years), fee payable.
  • Relevant body: German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).

Obtaining a licence for reproduction

Patent right

  • Non-binding declaration of licensing interest
    • Purely informs potential licensees about willingness to grant a licence
    • Entry in the patent register and publication in the patent bulletin
    • Can be revoked at any time
  • Binding declaration of willingness for licensing
    • Declaration of willingness by the applicant for or holder of a patent to the DPMA to permit anyone to use the invention against equitable remuneration
    • Submission of the original copy of the declaration or in electronic form via DPMAdirektPro
    • Entry in the patent register and publication in the patent bulletin
    • Written withdrawal and withdrawal via DPMAdirektPro possible, provided no intent to use has been indicated to the patent holder.
  • Exclusive licence
    • Exclusive right obtained from the licensee within the scope of an agreement with the applicant for a patent, which is effective against anyone
    • Entry in the patent register for a fee, no publication in the patent bulletin

Trade mark right

  • Non-binding declaration of willingness for licensing
    • Purely informs potential licensees about willingness for trade mark licensing
    • Entry in the trade mark register
    • Withdrawal possible at any time
  • Trade mark licence
    • Trade mark holders can:
        • cede rights of use to one person (exclusive licence) or assign multiple licences with the same content to various persons (non-exclusive licence)
        • grant licences for the entire national territory or just for a part of Germany
        • grant a right to use the trade mark with or without a time limit
        • grant the licence for all registered goods and/or services or just for a part of the protected goods and/or services
    • Information on licences is entered in the trade mark register on request.

Design right

  • Non-binding licensing declaration
    • Purely informs potential licensees about willingness to grant a licence
    • Entry in the design register and publication
    • Can be revoked at any time
  • Licence
    • Cedes rights of use to one person (exclusive licence) or assigns multiple licences with the same content to various persons (non-exclusive licence)
    • Grants licences for the entire national territory or just for a part of Germany

Utility model right

  • Non-binding declaration of licensing interest
    • Purely informs potential licensees about willingness to grant a licence
    • Entry in the utility model register and publication in the patent bulletin
    • Can be revoked at any time
  • Licence
    • Cedes rights of use to one person (exclusive licence) or assigns multiple licences with the same content to various persons (non-exclusive licence)
    • Grants licences for the entire national territory or just for a part of Germany

Further information

DPMA websiteOpens in new window

Patent application

Registering a trade mark

Registering a design

Registering a utility model

Obtaining a licence for reproduction

Responsible for the content
German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Last update or date of publication
18.08.2020