Increasingly connected at the global level
In the age of globalisation, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) relies on intensified cooperation with national and international intellectual property organisations.
World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva
The Worl Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations and an umbrella organisation for several international treaties and conventions on intellectual property. Currently, WIPO has 191 member states. The DPMA is actively involved in the decision-making processes as well as harmonisation and standardisation projects in the various WIPO committees.
The following are among the most important international treaties and conventions administered by WIPO:
PCT - Patent Cooperation Treaty
Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), it is possible to obtain patent protection in up to 152 countries with only one international application. It is not necessary to file separate applications in these countries. Protection under the PCT is only valid in those contracting states that are designated in the international application. Detailed information is available on the website Protection outside Germany.
Madrid system for the international registration of marks
The Madrid system is based on two treaties: the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Agreement) and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (Madrid Protocol). Currently, 99 countries or regional organisations in total – also, for example, the European Union – are contracting parties to the Madrid Agreement and/or the Madrid Protocol. Under the Madrid system, applicants or trade mark owners have the option to extend protection of what is known as their “basic mark” to other contracting parties by means of international registration. Detailed information is available on the website Trade mark protection abroad.
Under the "Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs", it is possible to register a design in an international register. The Hague Agreement comprises various acts (Hague Act, Geneva Act), which individual countries but also the European Union have become party to. Protection covers only those contracting parties designated in the application. Detailed information is available on the website www.wipo.int/hague.
WIPO Lex - A free global database of IP laws and Treaties
WIPO Lex is a free online database available on the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It provides access to the international treaties administered by WIPO, to other treaties for the protection of intellectual property and to laws and regulations of WIPO member states, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. (The DPMA itself does not provide any data here.)
WIPO Lex in a nutshell:
- Free-of-charge and easy access (no registration) to legal reference database on WIPO web site
- Comprehensive, accurate and continuously updated collection of legal documents
- Convenient and easy-to-use multilingual interface, including reference - information and legal notes for the documents
- A considerable part of documents translated into languages of the interface in addition to available national languages
- Database contains rare and not previously translated documents, as well as historical editions of treaties, laws and regulations
- Full text search is available
Cooperation with national patent offices
The DPMA works together with many national patent offices. In this respect, exchange of experience at senior management level and working level is a valuable gain. The DPMA is also directly involved in further developing national and international structures by means of partnership agreements with cooperation partners.
For example, cooperation between the DPMA and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) began as early as 1982. In the initial years of cooperation, the DPMA provided numerous training measures and assistance, for example, in drafting the patent act, training patent examiners and setting up information technology. Now, cooperation comprises many projects, for example, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) for accelerating the examination of patent applications.
Global Patent Prosecution Highway
The Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) is a multilateral pilot, in which all national and regional patent offices can take part. The purpose of the multilateral GPPH is to speed up processing of patent applications through the sharing of work results.
The DPMA joined the GPPH on 6 July 2015. Currently, 24 patent authorities worldwide participate in the GPPH. The Global PPH pilot replaces the existing bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements of the DPMA, except the PPH pilot with the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA). This bilateral agreement will be continued because CNIPA has not joined the GPPH. Detailed information is available Protection outside Germany/PPH.
Picture 1: iStock.com/BrianAJackson, Picture 2: DPMA
Last updated: 2 November 2020