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Search before filing!

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Design searches are important. Before filing a design application, you should gain information on the existing pool of design creations and perform a search for prior registered designs. The search helps you to find out if your design meets the requirements for protection or possibly infringes earlier rights. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office does not examine whether similar or identical designs are already registered. A possible infringement of earlier IP rights will only be examined later, in the case of a dispute, by the civil courts or in invalidity proceedings before the DPMA.

To effectively defend your design right, you should conduct regular searches also after the registration of your design.

Searches in the databases of the DPMA

The electronic DPMAregister service provides you with the option to conduct free searches for the publication data, the representations of the images as well as for legal (procedural) status information of registered designs. In addition, the Design Gazette (Designblatt) is available for download.

The Beginner's mode allows to carry out basic searches - by means of simple queries - within the most frequently used search fields (for example, register number, owner, description/products, class of goods). For the indication of products, it is best that you use our search engine.

You can produce a free uncertified register extract yourself, any time, by printing out the respective document from DPMAregister. For this purpose, please click the button "PDF download". You can submit a written request for a certified register extract to the DPMA. A fee of 20 euros is charged for a certified register extract.

Searching EUIPO and WIPO databases

You should also search the databases of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) because Community designs or international registrations of designs might conflict with your German design.

Search in Internet search engines, fair catalogues, product directories...

Before filing an application, you should also search for identical or similar designs in Internet search engines, fair catalogues or other product directories. All industrial or handicraft items which are used in trade or which, for example, were exhibited on a trade fair can conflict with the protection of your registered design.

MFor more information on searches, please see our information leaflet pdf- Datei Design Searches Online.

Register extracts and file inspection

You can order register extracts. You can obtain these extracts against payment of a fee of 20 euros for a certified register extract or 15 euros for an uncertified register extract.

You can also order copies of the case file of a design registration. For this purpose, please file a request for file inspection with the DPMA.

Help and advice

  • You can contact the enquiry units of the DPMA in Munich, Berlin and Jena.
  • The search support database hotline (phone: +49 89 2195-3435) will be pleased to answer your questions.
  • Expert staff provide assistance in the search rooms of the DPMA in Munich and Berlin. In the search rooms you can use the vast technical library of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, carry out searches for your design application or inspect files.
  • Searches for registered designs are also offered by patent information centres, commercial information brokers and patent search agents. Furthermore, in the search rooms of the patent information centres, desktop PCs are provided to visitors to carry out their own searches.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 21/02/17