Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Update
We are still here for you
- Regularly updated information and advice on the current situation can be found below on this website.
- For general administrative matters - not for IP procedures - please contact us electronically at email@example.com (please do not send your requests by post).
- Please call +49 89 2195-1000 to contact our Customer Care and Services or
+49 89 2195-3435 if you require assistance with any search.
Information for customers, external partners and potential visitors
As from now, no summons to hearings or oral proceedings at the DPMA (19 October 2020)
In view of the rising number of corona cases, as from now, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) does not schedule hearings or oral proceedings in IP procedures, hearings before the Arbitration Board under the Employee Inventions Act or hearings before the Arbitration Board under the Act on Collective Management Organisations at the DPMA. Hearings and oral proceedings to which summons have already been sent will take place if all parties involved agree.
Please carefully read the following information concerning access to the DPMA: Whichever of the DPMA's offices they enter, visitors must report to the reception desk to disclose their personal data and their host as well as to provide information on symptoms of an infection/illness, so that possible chains of infection can be tracked quickly if necessary. Please understand that people with acute respiratory symptoms are not allowed to enter the office, regardless of the disclosure of information. The statutory data protection requirements are fulfilled.
In the offices, visitors will be guided to their relevant host either by signs or by the person having issued the invitation to the DPMA. Hearings will take place in conference rooms furnished and equipped in accordance with the DPMA's hygiene concept.
To avoid waiting periods and crowds at the reception desks of the DPMA’s offices, we ask that all visitors download, complete and bring with them the forms for disclosure of information available on the DPMA’s website. The form "Selbstauskunft zu COVID-19 für Besucherinnen und Besucher des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts" (COVID-19 Information to Be Disclosed by Visitors to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office) and various leaflets containing information on the access to the DPMA’s offices are available in the table "Information on public access to the DPMA's offices during the coronavirus crisis" in the "Forms and more" of the DPMA's website.
We ask all guests to observe the protective measures in the offices, in particular to wear a mask, to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others and to abide by the current hygiene rules.
DPMA extends protective measures against coronavirus (15. September 2020)
The general COVID-19 situation in the Federal Republic of Germany has become more dynamic; the number of cases has for some weeks been rising in many cities and communities, including the city of Munich and the surrounding districts and towns. To minimise the risk of infection for the staff of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), the office has extended its hygiene and safety measures at the Munich office: As of now, people must cover their mouth and nose in all public areas of the DPMA’s Munich office. Visitors allowed in exceptional cases to access the office are also required to wear a mask. As a rule, the DPMA remains closed for the public.
German Patent and Trade Mark Office remains closed for the public due to the coronavirus pandemic (4 September 2020)
In view of the current development of the number of cases in the coronavirus pandemic, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) remains closed for the public until further notice, so it is still not possible to visit our cash desks, the document receiving service, the search room, the customer service or the initial inventor consultation. If, apart from a few exceptions, this prevents us from having face-to-face contact with our customers, the DPMA is almost fully able to carry out its operations. We continue providing our services and use digital formats to maintain contact with the public. The preventive measures taken to contain the pandemic are based on the requirements of occupational safety and health protection and have been agreed with our Health and Safety unit. The primary aim is to protect our staff and thus the entire public. Depending on the number of infections in the future, we will announce the possible reopening of the office in time on our website.
Information for IP right owners and applicants having financial difficulties in paying annual, maintenance, extension and renewal fees due to the COVID-19 pandemic (20 July 2020)
The spread of the coronavirus has led to restrictions on public life throughout Germany, which can pose economic difficulties for IP right owners. If, for this reason, proprietors of patents, utility models, designs and trade marks are not able in individual cases to pay annual, maintenance, extension or renewal fees in time, an IP right may lapse.
Annual fees for patents, maintenance fees for utility models and maintenance and extension fees for registered designs
- After the expiry of the time limit for payment not subject to a surcharge for late payment (until the expiry of the second month following the due date), you can pay annual fees for patents and patent applications, maintenance fees for utility models and maintenance fees for registered designs together with a surcharge for late payment of 50 euros per IP right within a grace period of four months, i.e. until the expiry of the sixth month following the due date at the latest (section 7 (1) sentences 1 and 2 of the Patent Costs Act).
- The extension fee for registered designs must be paid within 30 months from the date of filing or priority (section 7 (2) of the Patent Costs Act, section 21 (2) of the Design Act).
- Please note that the DPMA cannot extend time limits specified by law (including the statutory time limits for payment). However, the DPMA draws attention to the option of a re-establishment of rights (see Notice of 10 March 2020).
- If, in view of your financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not able to pay your annual, maintenance or extension fees, you can, under certain conditions, submit a request for legal aid (sections 129 et seq. of the Patent Act; section 21 (2) of the Utility Model Act in conjunction with sections 129 et seq. of the Patent Act; section 24 sentence 1 and sentence 3 of the Design Act in conjunction with sections 114 to 116 of the Code of Civil Procedure). This also applies if you can pay your fees only in part or by instalments. You must demonstrate, and may be required to substantiate, that the requirements for legal aid (especially your personal and financial situation) are fulfilled by using form A9541.
If you submit a request for the grant of legal aid before the expiry of the time limit for the payment of a fee, the expiry of such time limit will be suspended (section 134 of the Patent Act; section 21 (2) of the Utility Model Act in conjunction with section 134 of the Patent Act; section 24 sentence 4 of the Design Act in conjunction with section 134 of the Patent Act). If the request for legal aid is rejected, the time limit applies again one month after the receipt of the relevant decision. Information on legal aid is available in the "Information on Legal Aid Before the German Patent and Trade Mark Office" (Merkblatt über Verfahrenskostenhilfe vor dem Deutschen Patent- und Markenamt (A 9540)) .
- Information on the reduction of your annual fees by making a binding declaration of your willingness to grant licences concerning your patent or your patent application pursuant to section 23 (1) and (6) of the Patent Act is available in the "Information for Patent Applicants" (p. 13, item 3.) .
Renewal fees for trade marks
- After the expiry of the time limit for payment not subject to a surcharge for late payment, you can pay the renewal fee and any class fees for trade marks within a grace period of six months after the expiry of the term of protection (section 7 (3) sentences 1 and 2 of the Patent Costs Act). The surcharge for late payment is 50 euros for the basic fee and 50 euros for the class fees for the fourth class and each additional class.
- If, in view of your financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not able without any fault on your part to pay renewal fees for trade marks within the grace period, a later payment, together with a re-establishment of rights, is possible if the following requirements are fulfilled:
- When your financial situation permits it, you must pay the renewal fee plus the surcharge for late payment and file a request for re-establishment of rights within two months (section 91 (2) and (3) sentence 1 of the Trade Mark Act).
- Upon filing the request or in the proceedings concerning the request, you must substantiate that, without any fault on your part, you were not able to observe the grace period (section 91 (3) sentence 2 of the Trade Mark Act). In the case of financial difficulties caused by the pandemic, you must demonstrate that you got into financial difficulties due to measures taken in view of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. long closing of your business ordered by the authorities, considerably reduced turnover/sales) and that, despite your efforts to receive financial support (e.g. request for state aid), you were not able to pay the renewal fee within the grace period of six months. It is necessary that you disclose your financial situation to the DPMA. For the purposes of substantiation, the DPMA can request different documents and affirmations in lieu of an oath.
- A re-establishment of rights is possible only if your request has been filed and the renewal fee and the surcharge for late payment have been paid within one year after the expiry of the time limit not observed (section 91 (5) of the Trade Mark Act).
Further information is available in the "Guideline for the Examination of Trade Mark Applications and the Keeping of the Register" (Richtlinie für die Prüfung von Markenanmeldungen und für die Registerführung) (pp. 29 to 30, item 4.).
Notice concerning international registrations of marks and subsequent designations under the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks (PMMA) - Time limits, applications, requests and communication with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (9 April 2020)
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) is in general able to continue operations and handle applications for international registration of marks or requests for subsequent designation by using the electronic means available to us.
The extension of all time limits by notice of 18 March 2020 granted by the DPMA in all pending IP procedures does not apply to time limits in connection with applications for international registration of marks or requests for subsequent designation.
However, the area of international registrations of the DPMA is also affected by the restrictions currently imposed, such as quarantine measures, so that processing may be delayed just as in all other fields of work. This will mainly affect incoming paper-based mail and faxes as well as outgoing paper-based mail from the office, which our staff will, for the time being, not be able to process without delays due to the reduced presence of our staff at the office.
Please use our e-filing systems DPMAdirektPro and DPMAdirektWeb to file your applications for international registration of marks, subject to a time limit, because we can reliably receive the electronic applications. Please make sure to indicate your e-mail address on your application for international registration of a mark.
Regarding subsequent designations relating to international registrations of marks, the DPMA strongly recommends that you file these requests (MM4) directly with WIPO.
Communication with WIPO:
Due to the present situation, WIPO is not able to send or receive communications by postal mail until further notice. Therefore, applicants, holders and their representatives are also strongly advised to provide an e-mail address to the International Bureau for electronic communication if they have not already done so. This applies, in particular, if you have filed an application for international registration of a mark or a request for subsequent designation in the years 2018 to 2020 so that WIPO can forward to you, for example, provisional refusals in a designated country.
Please also refer to the daily "Covid-19 Update: Madrid System" on the WIPO website.
Information on deadlines in intellectual property rights proceedings (March 10, 2020)
In view of the spread of the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 and its impact, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office draws attention to the following: The German Patent and Trade Mark Office will take the current situation into appropriate account in managing IP procedures, within the scope of legal options.
This applies specifically to granting requests for the extension of time limits set by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. The German Patent and Trade Mark Office cannot extend time limits specified by law. However, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office draws attention to the option of re-establishment of rights. Further information can be found in the the Notice of 10 March 2020.
Older information on this topic can be found in our archive.
Last updated: 8 January 2021