Patent Registration in .
The global economy is becoming extremely competitive day by day, with new inventions entering the market. Germany is considered to be one of the largest economies in the world, with a diverse range of businesses competing in a tough marketplace, especially in the automobile sector.
It is important to protect your invention because it is your intellectual property and you should own the sole right to make, use, and sell it. There are numerous benefits of getting a patent, especially for the company as a whole because it makes room for further research and development and shows the innovative potential of the company.
To understand the Patent registration process in Germany, we need to look at the process in detail.
Patent registration services in Germany
Germany follows a first-to-file system for patents, which means that any individual or company that files for a patent first will receive priority and ultimately, patent registration. To register a patent in Germany, the applicant can file an application online with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
The DPMA encourages to apply online by by making an account. This requires a signature card with the corresponding card reader and the list of signature card suppliers can be found from Bundesnetzagentur. Once you make an account, you will also need a application software called DPMAdirektPro. With the help of this, you will be able to submit the documents online. All the information you provide through this application will be converted into data required by the DPMA. You will also need a special software for e-filing, which is provided free of cost by the DPMA.
By making an account with the DPMA, you save time and money plus there are number of advantages of e-filing, including:
- Plausibility check of data before sending (sparing the need to ask questions and avoiding delays);
- Secure/encrypted data transmission;
- Verifiability of correct transmission of data;
- Prompt acknowledgement of receipt;
- Official file number is given in just a few minutes;
- No postal charges and no paper costs (saving time and money);
- Reduced application fees;
- Accurate identification of sender (signature card)
Types of Patents
Types of Patents in Germany
There are four different types of patents. This includes utility patent, provisional patent, design patent, and plant patent. Before going into the details, you must understand the requirements for getting a patent. These altogether sum upto being five requirements in total.
- The innovation/invention is patentable subject matter: Businesses and individuals need to understand that not everything can be patented. What can be patented includes new products like toys, appliances, tools, medical devices, pharmaceutical drugs, new manufacturing processes or industrial methods, softwares, business methods, biological material (some type).
- The innovation is new (this is known as Novelty): A patent is taken out for something that is new, an innovation, thus you cannot patent something that is already in the public’s domain or in other words; it is publicly known. As soon as you file an application, it is tested for novelty. It is extremely important for this reason, to keep the product, invention or process to yourself and if your are disclosing this information to someone else, you should have a confidentiality agreement signed with them.
- The applicability of the invention: This basically means that invention, process or product should be applicable in the industry, not just theoretically but practically as well.
- The ‘utility’ or usefulness of the innovation: The innovation, process or product should be useful and functional. This does not relate to people buying it rather relates to being capable of what it claims to do. If it does not fulfull the information and claims in the patent, it fails this requirement.
- Must not have prior-use: If you have been using the process or have the product licensed before, it is not qualified for a patent. There should be no prior use of what you are trying to get patented.
Similarly, some patents cannot be registered, including artistic creations, mathematical algorithms or models, mental concepts or processes, plans or schemes, principles or theories.
There are 2 types of patents:
- Utility Patent: This is the most common type of patent. The Congress defines the kinds of inventions protected by this patent. The patent describes the public on the new machine or process. The patent document consists of all the technical information and the how-to for the new machine, process or system, educating the public.
- Design Patent: As the name depicts, this patent protects the design/shape of the invention or product. The document contains mostly pictures or drawings of the design on the product/item. It is difficult to search for design patents because they have minimal words rather contain mostly pictures.
How to register a Patent in Germany?
It is always good to search for existing patents to understand the available patents’ intricacies. This also helps in understanding why a patent might have been refused and if your invention has already been publicly disclosed. If you are inexperienced when it comes to patent searches, it is recommended to take the services of a registered attorney or agent.
DPMA also offers options for searching its database. You can file a search request with the office and pay the required fee after which a the office will give you a detailed report regarding your invention and its patentability.
According to the DPMA, patent application must contain all of the below mentioned elements. The application and all of its content must be in writing and also in German language. If the application is in English or French, then a translation must be provided within 12 months from filing. If it is in any other language other than that, then a translation must be provided within 3 months from filing. If the application is missing any of the content like translation, claims or fee etc. then the applicant will be given a notice and a time period to submit everything that is missing.
- A technical description of the invention (including a list of reference signs, if need be);
- Patent claims;
- Drawings if you deem them necessary;
- An abstract;
- The designation of the inventor.
Once the application is filed, it is given to patent examiners who check the application to see if it contains everything mentioned above. This will be a preliminary examination and DPMA will also classify the invention using International Patent Classification (IPC).
The examiner also checks if there are identical patents already registered or applied for, and if the patent complies with all the regulations.
For a proper substantial examination, the applicant has to file a request and pay the examination fee. If the fee is not paid then the applicant will not be able to obtain a patent.
From the date of filing, the applicant has upto 7 years to request an examination but a renewal fee has to be paid after third year of filing.
If there is any problem with the application, the examiner sends an Office Notice to the applicant containing the reasons for refusal. The applicant is given time to respond to the objections or to complete the application. If you fail to respond to the office action in the given time, your application will be considered abandoned.
Any person may give notice of opposition within nine months of the publication of the grant of a patent in the Patent Gazette (Patentblatt). If no opposition is filed, the patent becomes legally valid upon expiry of the opposition period. The patent will then become valid retroactively from the date of filing for a period of up to 20 years.
If the application gets accepted and there is no official action, or if the official action has been accordingly responded to, it gets published in the DPMAregister. The application is kept secret for 18 months before being published to allow the inventor to make amendments or withdraw the application. A notification is also given regarding the publication so that the public can obtain information.
If any dispute is resolved and the examiner’s decision is in favour of the applicant, the patent gets granted and a notice of allowance is given to the applicant. This is subject to the application fees being paid.
The entire Patent process takes around 18 months but can take even longer, depending on the complexity of the patent.
Price of Patents
Patent registration cost in Germany
The cost may vary according to the legals fees and how complex the patent/invention is. The cost of getting a patent in Germany can cost anywhere from €1000 to €5000 or more, depending on how complex your invention is and the type of patent you want to get.
Age of Patents
How long does a patent last?
Patents in the Germany last for 20 years, but after the 3rd year and then after every year, a maintenance fee has to be paid.
It is important to understand the extent of which a Patent protects the owner’s invention(s). It provides exclusivity to the Patent owner over invention and offers authenticity infront of the customers and the market.
At Patent International, we provide hassle-free Patent services catered to your needs, in compliance with the international requirements and standards. Patent registration in the Germany doesn’t have to be complicated, and that’s why Patent International is here to assist with all of your intellectual property needs.
*What to do? How to do it? When to do it? Will it work?*
If these are the questions that come to your mind when thinking of registering a Patent, you have come to the right place. We, at Patent International, answer these questions and more! Offering multiple Patent services, we guarantee client satisfaction. For expert advice and consultation, contact us now!