Federal Act Governing Access to Information held by the Federal Government
For enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act please contact us indicating the reference "IFG":
Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
80331 München, Germany
Phone: +49 89 2195-1000
Fax: +49 89 2195-2221
The Federal Act Governing Access to Information held by the Federal Government (Freedom of Information Act) entered into force on 1 January 2006. Under this Act, every citizen is unconditionally entitled to gain access to official information from the authorities of the federal government - and thus also from the German Patent and Trade Mark Office - provided there are no reasons for an exception and no overriding specific legal provisions.
The Section 4.3.1 (General Legal Affairs, Corporate Legal Advice) of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office is responsible for the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act at the office, among other things.
The filing plan of the DPMA is available here (in German).
Access to information, periods and costs:
Access to information may be granted by furnishing information, granting access to files (file inspection) or providing information in any other manner (e.g. by sending out copies). Where a certain form of access to information is requested, the information may only be provided by other means for good cause.
Access to information can be excluded or refused, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, if public interests or third party’s interests have to be protected (Sections 3 to 6 Freedom of Information Act).
The information is to be made accessible forthwith, at the latest within one month.
Fees and expenses are charged for the public services pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. This does not apply to the furnishing of basic items of information. Detailed fee information is available in the Verordnung über die Gebühren und Auslagen nach dem Informationsfreiheitsgesetz (Ordinance concerning the fees and expenses pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act) (in German only).
Extensive information on the Freedom of Information Act is available on the website of the Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit (Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information).
Overriding specific legal provisions concerning requests for the inspection of IP case files:
File inspection of IP case files is governed by specific legislation (e.g. Sec. 31 Patent Act, Sec. 8 Utility Model Act, Sec. 62 Trade Mark Act, Sec. 22 Design Act). These provisions take precedence over the Freedom of Information Act and block the entitlement to access to information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (cf. Sec. 1 (3) Freedom of Information Act).
Last updated: 20/08/18