IP day Stuttgart (Tag der gewerblichen Schutzrechte) 2022
German patent offers great benefits
Excellent expertise when it comes to examination and the court system, low costs, flexible procedures: At the IP Day in Stuttgart, DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer explained why national patents would continue to be highly attractive even after the introduction of the European Unitary Patent.
Munich. On the occasion of the IP Day in Stuttgart, DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer pointed out the great advantages of the German patent. German patents and utility models could play a central role in IP strategies, especially against the background of the introduction of the European Unitary Patent, she stated. Along with cost advantages, DPMA President Rudloff-Schäffer also emphasised the high quality and flexibility of the German system: “Whatever the changes, it is particularly important to us that you can continue to rely on the outstanding quality of our examination and services.”
In addition to the national patent and to what is known as bundle patent, the European Unitary Patent will provide applicants with yet another protection option for their inventions. In contrast to the European bundle patent, which can provide protection in individual contracting states of the European Patent Convention depending on the strategy chosen and the market served, the future Unitary Patent will provide unitary effect in all states participating in the unitary patent system. This additional protection option is expected to be available after the new unified court system has been established, that is in late 2022 or early 2023.
Strategy: protection in Germany often sufficient
The DPMA President clarified that, for an astonishingly high share of European bundle patents, protection was claimed in only one or two states and almost always in Germany, and that in many cases − for example in the automotive sector − the less expensive protection with exclusive validity in Germany could be sufficient from a strategic point of view. According to the DPMA President, the costs associated with the unitary patent system would also be significantly higher than those incurred in the case of protection by one or two national patents. She added that the advantage that there was no requirement for a lawyer to appear before both the DPMA and the Federal Patent Court for parties with residence or principal place of business in Germany also helped keep costs under control. “In such cases, selective patent strategies with national patent applications will remain a high priority at the DPMA,” President Rudloff-Schäffer emphasised. In the event of a legal dispute, patent proprietors would thus be able to make full use of the recognised competent national court system including the outstanding technical expertise of its judges, she said.
Flexibility: German procedure allows for Adjustments
According to DPMA President Rudloff-Schäffer, the flexibility of the German patent procedure is a clear plus, as applicants have seven years to file a request for examination and can adapt patent claims at any time. This way, the time of grant could be better influenced, she stated, emphasising: “You will maintain control of important controlling elements.”
Double protection both in Germany and Europe
The DPMA President drew the attention of applicants wishing to make use of the European unitary patent system to the future possibility of double protection at European and national level. When the Unitary Patent comes into force, it will be possible to protect a patent both at the European Patent Office and at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. President Rudloff-Schäffer explained that this could offer advantages especially in the event of a legal dispute and stressed that if a patent became invalid at the European level, protection in Germany could continue on the basis of the national patent. “I believe that these major benefits contribute to making German IP rights even more attractive in many cases.”
Utility model as unique feature
Finally, the DPMA President pointed out a unique feature of the German system: the utility model. Especially in view of the Unitary Patent, she said, there was the interesting option of splitting off a German utility model from a European application with effect in Germany in order to obtain rapid protection. “This way, we offer you another protection option in addition to the double protection option in Germany − even if your patent becomes invalid at the European level.”
The Tag der gewerblichen Schutzrechte serves to inform entrepreneurs, patent professionals and start-ups and is organised once a year by the Patent and Trade Mark Centre Baden-Württemberg.
Last updated: 17 October 2023