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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Update

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Information on the partial reopening of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office for public access

From 29 June 2020

On 1 July 2020, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) will start to gradually grant access to individual invited visitors with appointments. This partial reopening is a response to the scientific findings about COVID-19 and the development of the number of coronavirus cases in Germany. Having closed its offices for public access at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the DPMA now adopts the state’s lockdown easing measures decided upon in the meantime. If the number of infections does not rise uncontrollably, hearings and oral proceedings in IP procedures, hearings before the Arbitration Board under the Employee Inventions Act and hearings before the Arbitration Board under the Act on Collective Management Organisations can take place at the DPMA as from 1 July 2020. The DPMA also allows registered visitors to the Supervision under the Act on Collective Management Organisations division or the Patent Attorneys and Other Agents section access to its office.

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.

The DPMA reserves the right to restrict or completely stop public access to its offices again if the number of infections increases. We ask all guests to observe the protective measures in the offices, in particular to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from others and to abide by the current hygiene rules.

The DPMA will provide information on further opening on its website in time.


Important:

  • 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 info@dpma.de (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

  • 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.

    Important information:

    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 on hearings and oral proceedings (30 April 2020)

    In accordance with federal provisions and applicable general ordinances for Berlin, Thuringia and Bavaria to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in particular to protect our staff and our customers, the following policies apply in connection with hearings and oral proceedings concerning all IP procedures at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office until 30 June 2020:

    • Summons to appear in hearings or oral proceedings will not be issued, whether the proceedings are unilateral or multilateral.
    • Hearings and oral proceedings that have been scheduled will not take place and are cancelled ex officio. Cancellation ex officio will be notified in writing.

    Information on hearings and oral proceedings as from 1 July 2020 and regular updates on the situation will be published on this page.

  • 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.

  • Please refrain from all entries that are not absolutely necessary, in particular inquiries about the status of procedures and requests for extension of time limits (6 April 2020)

    Despite the restrictions resulting from the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Germany, the DPMA is currently able, to some extent, to maintain business operations and continue conducting IP procedures in the fields of patents, utility models, trade marks and designs.

    However, we would ask you not to make any requests that are not absolutely necessary until further notice, in particular inquiries about the status of procedures and requests for extension of time limits. This is absolutely crucial for us to further ensure that IP procedures can be handled as effectively as possible.

    On 18 March 2020, we informed you that all time limits granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office in all pending IP procedures have been extended until 4 May 2020 and that, before that date, no decision will be taken due to the expiry of a time limit.

    We do not send separate communications on such extensions of time limits.

    Important: The extensions of time limits granted until 4 May 2020 do not apply to:

    • time limits prescribed by law (see also notice of the DPMA of 10 March 2020)
    • time limits in connection with applications for international registration of marks or requests for subsequent designation under the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the international registration of marks (PMMA).
  • Information on how to contact the supervisory authority under the Collective Management Organisations Act (Verwertungsgesellschaftengesetz) as well as the supervisory authority for authorised entities under the Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz) (24 March 2020)

    Due to the current situation in connection with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), please do not transmit any paper-based inquiries or submissions by mail or fax, until further notice. Instead, please send your requests

    • concerning collective management organisations and management entities by e-mail to AufsichtVGG@dpma.de

    Please also check our website for up-to-date information on the current developments.

  • Any postal items to the DPMA with respect to general administrative matters by e-mail (23 March 2020)

    The spread of the corona virus has led to nationwide restrictions on public life. These restrictions also affect the accessibility of the DPMA and its usual business operations.

    Therefore, please do not send any postal items to the DPMA with respect to general administrative matters but send your requests by e-mail to info@dpma.de. This does not apply to IP procedures.

  • Notice concerning delays in IP procedures and time limits (18 March 2020)

    As a rule, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office is able to continue to provide its services and to perform the patent, utility model, trade mark and design procedures by using the electronic means available to it.

    However, many of our staff are affected by the restrictions currently imposed, such as quarantine measures, so that delays will affect all fields of work. In particular, this affects any paper-based mail and fax copies to be received and any paper-based mail to be sent by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, which our staff will, for the time being, not be able to process without delays because the presence of our staff at the office is reduced.

    Please use our e-filing systems DPMAdirektPro and DPMAdirektWeb to file your IP applications and take any further actions related to the procedure – particularly with respect to national and international procedures subject to time limits. By using these e-filing options, you make sure that we receive everything you send.

    There may also be delays in issuing certificates – particularly documents, register extracts, apostilles and certificates of origin – and in issuing priority documents. We recommend that you make your request for such certificates and documents as early as possible.
    The dates of publication of the IP gazettes may be different from the scheduled dates.

    With regard to all pending IP procedures, time limits granted by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office are extended, and no decision will be made because of the expiration of any time limit, until 4th May 2020. Separate notices concerning the extensions of time limits will not be issued. In addition, the time limits to be set by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office will be as generous as the situation requires.

    The German Patent and Trade Mark Office is not authorized to extend time limits provided for by law. In this respect, reference is made to the option of re-establishment of rights (see also Notice of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office of 3rd March 2020).

    The below policies apply to hearings and oral proceedings:

    • Summons to appear in hearings or oral proceedings will no longer be issued, whether the proceedings are unilateral or multilateral.
    • Hearings and oral proceedings that have been scheduled will not take place until further notice and are cancelled ex officio. Cancellation ex officio will be notified in writing.

    The immediate transfer of international design applications to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization cannot be guaranteed either. Therefore, we recommend that you file such applications directly with the WIPO.

    This information can also be found in the notice of 18 March 2020.

  • Applications and requests in relation to recruitment procedures (18 March 2020)

    In view of the current coronavirus outbreak, please send any applications and requests made in relation to recruitment procedures only to Bewerbung@dpma.de. We continue our application and recruitment procedures. Please note, however, that there may be delays, depending on how the current situation develops. Please also check our website for updates.

  • Document receiving services and cash desks at all offices of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office closed as from 18 March 2020, 15:00 (17 March 2020)

    The document receiving services and cash desks at all offices of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office remain closed as from Wednesday, 18 March 2020, 15:00.
    Headquarters in Munich
    The document receiving service and the cash desk are closed. Please use our overnight mailbox for any mail to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or hand it in at the reception desk.
    Jena office
    The document receiving service and the cash desk are closed. Please use our overnight mailbox for any mail to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or hand it in at the reception desk on the fifth floor.
    Berlin office
    The document receiving service and the cash desk are closed. Please use our overnight mailbox for any mail to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office or hand it in at the reception desk.

  • Cancellation of the oral part of the qualifying examination for German patent attorneys (17 March 2020)

    Due to the recent developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office has unfortunately had to cancel the oral part of the qualifying examination for German patent attorneys (I/2020) from 30 March to 8 April 2020. We apologise, especially to the examinees, for any inconvenience this may cause.
    Please note that we currently have no information on possible alternative dates. We will publish the dates on our website when they have been set.

  • Employee inventions: Deadlines for pleadings extended (16 March 2020)

    Due to the coronavirus, the Arbitration Board extends all open pleading deadlines until 15 May 2020 in accordance with the Law on Employees' Inventions. A separate application for an extension of the deadline is not necessary. However, this does not apply to the non-extendable statutory objection period under Section 34 (3) ArbEG.

  • Coronavirus: Information centres and research rooms closed to visitors (16 March 2020)

    Due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Information centres and research rooms of the DPMA will remain closed until further notice. There will be no on-site consultations and no Initital Inventor Consultations. This measure is necessary to prevent a possible spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the DPMA and to reduce the risk of exposure of staff and visitors. We ask for your understanding.  
     
    The customer service staff can still be reached by telephone and e-mail at:  
    Area of service   Phone  E-Mail  
    Central Customer Care and Services   089 2195-1000  info@dpma.de 
    Hotline for Database Users   089 2195-3435  datenbanken@dpma.de 

  • 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.

  • Cancellation DPMAnutzerforum and MaMoG Roadshow (3 March 2020)

    The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) regrets that it has to cancel the DPMAnutzerforum meeting in Munich, scheduled for 24 March 2020, due to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The same applies to the planned MaMoG roadshow.

    The DPMA thus follows the recommendation of the crisis management group of the Federal German Government specifying that the principles and recommendations for action issued by the Robert Koch Institute on 28 February 2020 on risk assessment of major events should be considered.
    Due to this recommendation and in the light of the increased number of infected people in all German Länder, the DPMA has reassessed the situation. In addition, there is much uncertainty among numerous visitors of events, so we have already received a number of inquiries.
    For the office’s senior management, the decision was not an easy one but in view of latest developments cancellation at this early stage is necessary, much to our regret. We apologise and ask for your understanding for this precautionary measure, which has also been adopted in your interest.

    We have not yet decided on a possible new date. We will provide timely information to you in a suitable form.

Picture: DPMA

Last updated: 29 June 2020 

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