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Application date (filing date)

The application (filing) date is the date when your application has been received by the IP office. The application (filing) date determines, for example, that applications for the same or a similar invention that are filed later by competitors cannot be patented. At the same time, the application (filing) date is the priority date of your future IP right. This is important if you want to apply for an IP right in other countries.

Bundespatentgericht

Bundespatentgericht see Federal Patent Court

Trade mark offices classify the goods and services in relation to which a trade mark is to be used according to the Nice Agreement

Compulsory appointment of a representative

Applicants can apply for IP rights themselves. It is at the applicant's discretion to decide whether to seek the help of an attorney. However, persons having neither a residence nor a seat nor an establishment in Germany must appoint an attorney-at-law or patent attorney in Germany as their representative. The representative can also be a national of a member state of the European Union or another contracting state of the Agreement on the European Economic Area. In that case, an attorney-at-law or a patent attorney in Germany must be authorised to accept service of official communications.

DEPATIS and DEPATISnet - German patent information system

The DEPATISnet service of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) provides access to the vast knowledge pool of 40 million patent documents via the Internet. The core of DEPATISnet is the DEPATIS document archive containing German and also foreign patent documents in electronic form. The patent examiners of the DPMA use DEPATIS for patent searches. DEPATIS has almost completely replaced the paper collections of patent documents.

DEPATISnet provides access to all German patent documents since 1877. In addition, patent documents of many other countries are available online, for example, Australia, Japan, the USA, the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, France and Switzerland to list just a few.

Dependent patent

If a later patent can only be utilised if it is simultaneously used together with an earlier patent, the later patent is dependent on the earlier patent. The owner of the later patent can use his patent only with the consent of the owner of the earlier patent. However, the owner of the earlier patent cannot use the further developed teaching of his patent contained in the later patent. The infringement courts are in charge of decisions on a question of dependence.

Design protection

Design registration provides protection for the appearance of a product. Any industrial or handicraft item can be protected. The requirements for protection are that the design is new on the date of filing the application and differs from previous designs (so-called individual character). However, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) does not examine compliance with these requirements before the design is registered. It is only examined by the civil courts in case of a dispute. The registration gives the owner the exclusive right to use the design. Design protection can last for 25 years from the filing date.

© 2014 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 22/07/14