Services To keep you well informed at all times
Despite all the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we have been and will continue to be there for you. The primary goal of the customer service is to “help you to help yourself”. Such assistance is important when preparing for the application procedure for all types of IP rights and contributes essentially to the quality of applications. In addition, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) offers services for conducting searches and monitoring competitors.
We make our IP data available to information providers and grant direct automated access to our services (DPMAconnectPlus).
You can use the following services:
You can contact our Central Customer Care and Services by telephone at +49 89 2195-1000, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and by post. You will not only receive information of a general nature but also advice on the correct way to file an IP application and answers to questions on filed applications. We regret that we are currently unable to meet you face-to-face at our enquiry units in Munich, Jena and Berlin due to the pandemic, but we hope that this will be possible again soon.
We provided information and assistance over 160,000 times in 2020:
Regrettably, our search rooms in Munich and Berlin are also closed to the public at the moment due to the pandemic. As soon as they can open again to the public, you will receive more detailed information and support for all IP searches there – in addition to the services provided by the Central Customer Care and Services. In the search rooms, you can also inspect case files; our DPMAregister service provides online file inspection. In addition, we are also working to provide contact-free services to meet the pandemic-related requirements.
In “normal” times, free initial consultations for inventors performed by patent attorneys are offered by various institutions, in cooperation with the Chamber of Patent Attorneys, in many cities nationwide. However, in the past months, this service had to be considerably reduced or cancelled completely due to the pandemic. The Central Customer Care and Services will aim to again provide and arrange free consultations at the premises of the DPMA, as soon as the situation allows.
For a general introduction to the subject area of industrial property protection or specific searches on our databases, we offer various workshops and seminars. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no face-to-face search workshops were held in 2020. Instead, numerous online seminars were being developed. For our workshops and seminars offered, please refer to our website (in German).
We have compiled everything you need to know about patents, utility models, trade marks and designs on our website. There, you also find compact leaflets with information on IP rights, searches and our electronic services as well as extensive brochures containing information on all types of IP rights, our annual reports and the publication “Erfinderaktivitäten”. Via our websites, you have free access to the most recent issue of the publication “Blatt für Patent-, Muster-und Zeichenwesen”, published once a month by Carl Heymanns Verlag. This gazette covers acts, ordinances and official notifications on IP protection, including selected court decisions and notifications about patent agents and representatives. In our series DPMAinformativ, we go deeper into specific topics, especially concerning patent information. We always keep you up to date with current news and our newsletter. The background information and milestones regarding our projects are also an exciting read. You find all our publications on our websites.
In our two databases DPMAregister and DEPATISnet, publicly accessible on our website, you can carry out free searches on patents, utility models, trade marks and designs: You can use DPMAregister to consult the register of legal and procedural status information; DEPATISnet gives you an overview of the global state of the art. Last year we introduced a new search mode that allows you to conveniently compile your own search queries. We also introduced responsive design so that you get the best possible view regardless of the device you are using.
You can use our DPMAkurier alert service to monitor IP rights. You will receive the results through automated e-mails.
Our DPMAconnectPlus service offers you automated online access to all official register and publication data from DPMAregister and the opportunity to download patent and utility model documents from the DEPATIS document archive.
Our information and support services are supplemented by a network of 20 local patent information centres (PIZ) across Germany. The individual PIZ offer a large variety of services in the area of industrial property protection, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, members of universities and research institutions as well as independent inventors. Please note, however, that the PIZ or the DPMA cannot give legal advice. Legal advice is exclusively provided by patent attorneys and lawyers. You can find out more about our cooperation with the PIZ in our chapter “National cooperation partners”. You can reach the PIZ online at www.piznet.de (in German).
In 2020, contrary to the original plan, we were able to participate in only very few trade fairs. The pandemic situation also posed new challenges to us in this respect. We are constantly expanding our capacity to host and participate in digital specialist events. Furthermore, we are developing a virtual trade fair stand. Its aim is to present the DPMA as a modern service provider and a federal centre of expertise for intellectual property at various trade fairs and events in 2021. The focus of the trade fair stand is to raise public awareness of industrial property rights and provide IP information to the public. Visitors can take an interactive 360° tour of the DPMA and learn about IP rights and search options at the “info points” integrated into the tour. We also place a special focus on information for small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.
We accept general written complaints – however, no complaints in the legal sense – at a central unit, analyse the requests and respond in close cooperation with the division involved. The analysis repeatedly reveals potential for improvement which is then discussed and implemented. Please write to us and explain your request if you have not been entirely satisfied with the services of the DPMA. You can contact us by e-mail at email@example.com or by post.
Overview News from the IT services
In 2020, too, we worked continuously on improving and expanding the electronic case file processing systems.
By adapting the IT system for patents and utility models, the DPMA has been able to participate in the “WIPO Fee Transfer Service” of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) since February, resulting in a reduction of the administrative effort for transferring fees collected for international applications to WIPO and the EPO.
Furthermore, we made improvements in case file processing and clarity. We also revised and improved the processing of final decisions in opposition proceedings and their presentation in the case file and in the register of the DPMA.
The option of blackening incoming documents was integrated in the initial processing stage and a new general request process was launched, which allows DPMA staff consistent and system-based processing of various infrequent requests, some of which had previously been handled outside the system.
In 2020, we adapted the case file processing system for trade marks to comply with the requirements resulting from the EU trade mark law reform. The technical requirements for revocation and invalidity proceedings were already implemented. We have not yet completed transferring the term structures (group title) of TMclass terms for goods and services, delivered by EUIPO, to provide structural functionalities with broad terms and group titles in the online filing services (DPMAdirektPro and DPMAdirektWeb) as well as in DPMAmarken.
We also worked intensively on developing the electronic case file system for registered designs. For this purpose, we reused further technical components of the IT system for patents and utility models in DPMAdesign. We completed developments to create an electronic file view for registered designs as a supplement to the initially still “predominant” paper-based case file and concluded the necessary modifications in horizontal systems such as the digitisation centre of the DPMA. In a next step, we will now supplement electronic case management and thus also enable fully electronic processing of design files.
We also expanded the register of out-of-commerce works to include “periodicals” and continued to review our specialist systems for compliance with the accessibility standards as part of the implementation of the EU Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies.
The coronavirus pandemic also had an impact on our IT systems. For example, in the lockdown in spring 2020, internal processing periods were temporarily adjusted as a precautionary measure to ensure that longer internal processing, if necessary, would not have a negative impact on our customers. In addition, new information leaflets were incorporated for summonses to hearings or to rescheduled hearings at the DPMA.
In 2020, the way we work at our office radically changed — more staff worked from home, fewer staff were present at the office, there were rapidly changing demands on the IT systems, while security and data protection requirements continued to be stringent.
In April, we additionally invested in notebooks for a further 400 workstations to supplement the more than 1,000 existing established home workstations and roughly 300 mobile workstations, in an accelerated procedure. Since October, another 400 devices have been added. Now, more than 2,100 colleagues can safely and securely work from home. For the surging demand for telephony, teleconferencing, video conferencing and screen sharing, we expanded the existing telephone system with additional functions. Additional voice channels to and from the outside improve our telephone accessibility. In addition, new equipment for the use of video-conferencing tools was tested, procured and made available, and the existing video-conferencing facilities were upgraded to also access internet services of other manufacturers.
Overview Electronic services
The following e-services are available to our customers:
- Online search in the bibliographic data as well as in the legal and procedural status data
- You can produce an uncertified excerpt from the register yourself
- You can inspect the various parts of a patent case file online
- NEW: Advanced search mode for all types of IP
- NEW: In the trade mark section, you can search for “invalidity proceedings”, “revocation proceedings” and “FG invalidation proceedings”
- NEW: In the expert mode, you can save older search queries within the current session
- NEW: In the monitoring mode, you can perform combined search queries
- Document archive with clearly more than 100 million data records from about 100 countries; you will receive almost 60% of these data records directly as PDF
- You can conduct online searches for prior art published in patent literature from all over the world
- NEW: Display of INPADOC data possible
- NEW: Full text search now also in US documents (as already possible for DE, EP and WO documents)
- NEW: The help pages of DEPATISnet have been revamped completely. The help text is now combined in one PDF document, enabling a search in the entire help pages
- NEW: You can save older search queries in the expert and IKOFAX modes within the current session
- Legally valid online filing of applications for all IP rights
- You need a special software, which we will provide to you free of charge, as well as a qualified signature card
- You can register for the electronic document mailing service
- Legally valid online filing of applications for trade marks and designs as well as for the international registration of marks
- Contrary to DPMAdirektPro, no signature card or special software is required
- Legal status monitoring of certain IP rights
- You can subscribe to receive IP gazettes/journals by e-mail
- NEW: You can submit combinations of applicant/inventor/owner as well as of classification symbols
- NEW: You can specify multiple recipients for the receipt of e-mails
- Establishment of an automated interface, which provides access to all official register and publication data from DPMAregister
- You can download patent and utility model documents from the DEPATIS document archive through an interface
- Facsimile documents of DE, DD, EP and WO documents as well as (optionally) the corresponding bibliographic data
- We provide you weekly with the current data and documents of the German IP rights in the form of data packages