European Cooperation

Map of Europe with national flags

Our partner for patents: the European Patent Office

The externer Link European Patent Office (EPO) is an organ of the European Patent Organisation.

The legal basis for the EPO is the European Patent Convention (externer Link EPC), which currently has externer Link 39 member states, including those that are not member states of the European Union (EU).

The EPO examines and grants European patents. Once granted, the European patent has the same effect in each EPC contracting state for which it has been granted and it is subject to the same provisions as a national patent granted in that contracting state.

Since 1 June 2023, there is also the opportunity to file the new European patent with unitary effect ("Unitary Patent"), providing unitary effect in all participating EU member states. Moreover, a unitary patent court system based on the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA) has been established. For more information, please visit our Website or the externer Link European Patent Office .

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) is a member of the German delegation to the Administrative Council and to the various bodies of the EPO. In this way, the DPMA actively participates in shaping the European patent system.

Our partner for trade marks and designs: the EUIPO

The externer Link European Union Intellectuell Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante (Spain) registers and manages European Union trade marks and Community designs. The European Union trade mark and the Community design give their owner an IP right that is uniformly valid in all member states of the European Union.

The DPMA is actively involved in the developments of the European Union trade mark and the Community design by representing Germany in the meetings of the Management Board of the EUIPO and participating in other committees, working groups and European cooperation projects.

EU projects support SMEs in protecting intellectual property

From 2016-2020, the DPMA cooperated with 34 national IP offices as well as 19 science and research institutions in the "VIP4SME" project (Value Intellectual Property for SMEs) within the EU’s externer Link HORIZONT2020 programme. The aim of this project was to further increasing the support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in obtaining intellectual property protection in the European Union and raising awareness of the importance and effect of national and European IP rights. The DPMA closely worked together with the externer Link Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (Fraunhofer IAO) in this project.

As early as from 2007 to 2011, twenty national patent offices of EU member states (including the DPMA) had joined to raise awareness of intellectual property among SMEs in Europe and provide information on the enforcement of IP rights. This project, named "IPeuropAware", was funded and supported by the European Commission. To implement the project at the national level, diverse information events took place in Germany. In addition, the sectoral handbooks, prepared in the project and entitled "Intellectual property - a guide for SMEs" were presented and distributed. All project results are compiled in the publication " pdf-Datei Promoting the benefits of greater knowledge and effective management of IP in European SMEs & Intermediaries (6,54 MB)".

From 2011 to 2015, the DPMA participated in the "IPorta" follow-up project - also initiated and funded by the EU Commission. This project aimed to further expand cooperation between national patent and trade mark offices. Further stakeholders joined the project, for example, the externer Link Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) and the externer Link IPR Helpdesk, also funded by the EU Commission. A total of 15 patent and trade mark offices participated in the project including the IP offices of France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland and Turkey. The externer Link information platform was also further developed; it publishes comprehensive information on industrial property protection in the states of the EU.


Last updated: 23 January 2024