apply for a patent Unfortunately this specification of service has not yet been completely translated.

Technical inventions that are new, inventive and industrially applicable can be protected as patents at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

The patent is an industrial property right that gives you, as its owner, the exclusive right to dispose of your invention. No one else may make use of the patented invention without your consent. Except in exceptional cases regulated by law, no one may, for example, manufacture, offer, market or import patented products or use patented processes without a license. This protective right is usually valid for a period of up to 20 years.

Patents can be granted for inventions in all fields of technology that are

  • are new
  • are based on an inventive step and
  • are industrially applicable.

Novelty: An invention is new if it does not belong to the prior art. The state of the art comprises all knowledge which has been made available to the public in any conceivable way throughout the world prior to the filing of the application for the invention in question. This may be the case, inter alia, through written or oral descriptions, use or exhibition. Written descriptions include, for example, books, journals and patents. An oral description is, for example, a presentation at a conference.

Information that you have published yourself also counts as prior art. So, as an inventor, always take care to keep your invention secret before filing an application.

Inventive step: Even if your invention is new worldwide, it does not automatically have to lead to a patent. Inventive step means that the innovation must be sufficiently different from the prior art. Patent protection is not granted if the innovation is obvious and therefore small.

Industrial applicability: Industrial applicability is given if the invention can be made or used in any industrial field, including agriculture.

Technical invention : A patent is granted only on technical inventions. The constant advancement of science and technology continues to redefine the areas of what patent protection can be obtained for.

When you apply for a patent for your invention, you must disclose it in the application documents so clearly and completely that a person skilled in the art can readily carry it out. A subsequent expansion of the technical information is not permissible.

On the other hand, patent protection is not possible for, among other things:

  • Discoveries (finding something existing that was previously unknown, for example magnetism),
  • scientific theories,
  • mathematical methods,
  • aesthetic creations (you can apply for design protection for shapes and colours),
  • plans, rules and procedures for intellectual activities (such as building plans, patterns or teaching methods),
  • business activities (such as organisational models or accounting systems),
  • Reproduction of information (such as tables, forms or type arrangements),
  • computer programs as such (without technical reference),
  • inventions the exploitation of which would be contrary to morality or public policy,
  • the human body at the stages of its formation and development, including germ cells, and the simple discovery of one of its components, including the sequence or partial sequence of a gene,
  • procedures for the surgical or therapeutic treatment of the human or animal body, as well as diagnostic procedures,
  • animal breeds and plant varieties as well as essentially biological processes for the breeding of plants and animals and the plants and animals obtained thereby.

If you wish to apply for a patent for an invention at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, you must provide a comprehensive description of the invention which enables a person skilled in the art to understand and carry out your invention.

  • Description of the Invention,
  • claims,
  • drawings, if any,
  • abstract and
  • Inventor's designation

Forms: Application for the grant of a patent

Online procedure possible: yes

Written form required: yes

Personal appearance required: no

Related Links

  • Antrag auf Erteilung eines Patents zum Herunterladen auf der Internetseite des DPMA
  • Software "DPMAdirektPro" zum Herunterladen auf der Internetseite des DPMA
Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), Informations- und Dienstleistungszentrum Berlin

Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), Dienststelle Jena

Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA)

Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), Zentraler Kundenservice


  • Your invention meets the three criteria for patentability of inventions:
    • Novelty,
    • inventive step and industrial applicability.
    • Industrial applicability.
  • You disclose your invention so clearly and completely that a person skilled in the art can readily carry it out.
  • If you are not resident in Germany and have neither a seat nor a branch office in Germany, you need a legal or patent attorney admitted to practice in Germany as your representative.

Related Links

  • Patentgesetz (PatG)

Related Links

  • Merkblatt für Patentanmelder auf der Internetseite des DPMA
  • Informationsbroschüre zum Patentschutz auf der Internetseite des DPMA
  • Kostenmerkblatt auf der Internetseite des DPMA
  • Hinweise zu Gebühren in Patentsachen auf der Internetseite des DPMA
  • Datenbank "DPMAregister" für Patente, Gebrauchsmuster, Marken und Design

A patent does not automatically come into existence with the application to the DPMA. A patent can only be granted once your invention has successfully passed the statutory examination procedure.

You can request the grant of a patent in writing or electronically. If you wish to file the request in writing

  • Print out the request for grant of a patent, complete it and submit it to the DPMA together with the required documents.
  • Transfer the application fees.
  • If you have included the examination of the application in the request, you also transfer the examination fee.
  • Your application will now be examined for compliance with the formal requirements and obvious grounds for refusal. In addition, your invention will be placed in a classification scheme (International Patent Classification IPC) according to its subject matter.
  • Then file the request for examination and pay the examination fee. You can also file the request for examination already in the request for grant of a patent if you tick the corresponding box. Otherwise, you can send an informal letter to the DPMA (paper, fax, "DPMAdirektPro" service). You have seven years from the filing date to file the request for examination. However, to maintain your application you will have to pay renewal fees from the third patent year.
  • If you wish, you can also file a search request for your application before filing your request for examination, for which a fee will be charged. In this case, the protectability of your filed invention will be assessed and substantiated in a detailed search report, which will also contain the documents that may be relevant for the examination of the patentability of your invention.
  • If you have filed a request for examination for your application, a patent examiner will then examine the prior art relevant to your invention and grant a patent if appropriate.
  • If your invention does not meet the requirements or your application has other deficiencies, you will be notified in an examination communication.
  • You can then comment and remedy the deficiencies. It is important to note that all changes must be within the scope of the description of your invention filed on the filing date.
  • Your patent application remains secret for 18 months, after which it is published in the so-called Offenlegungsschrift. The Offenlegungsschrift appears regardless of whether you have filed a request for examination.
  • If a patent is granted, the publication of the grant is made in the Patent Gazette. It can also be searched in the databases "DEPATISnet" and "DPMAregister".
  • A granted patent is effective for a maximum of 20 years, starting on the day after the application is filed. In order to maintain patent protection, you must pay renewal fees for each patent and each application from the beginning of the third year.
  • Your patent can be challenged by third parties - either by opposition or by an action for revocation.

If you wish to file your patent electronically:

  • You can use the free software "DPMAdirektPro" for your application. You cannot file a patent application by e-mail.
  • You will need
    • a signature card with the corresponding card reader,
    • the application software "DPMAdirektPro" to create and validate the application documents.
  • Download the software and follow the instructions.
  • Transfer the application fee and, if applicable, the examination fee without being asked to do so.
  • The rest of the procedure is the same as for the written application.

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