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Searches facilitate decision-making

You intend to file a patent application? You are the owner of a patent? You are looking for technical solutions for specific problems? You require information on the patent portfolio of a company? If any of these applies to you, or if you need to explore other issues, suitable search strategies will help you reaching decisions.

  • You can carry out free patent information searches within the databases of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
  • Please note that, in general, only published patents and utility models can be searched worldwide.
  • The choice of suitable databases and search strategies is crucial for the success of your searches.

IPC search

Each patent application is classified by the DPMA and thus attributed to one or several fields of technology. The classification scheme applied is the International Patent Classification (IPC).

The IPC is a hierarchical classification system mapping all fields of technology. Most patent authorities all over the world use the IPC to classify patent applications in the appropriate field of technology.

The IPC is an important search tool for users of patent information. IPC symbols allow to search data collections worldwide, irrespective of the language in which patent specifications were drawn up.

If you have questions regarding the state of the art, wish to monitor competitors or analyse other issues, the search using IPC symbols offers a large variety of options for developing search strategies. You can refine your search strategy by including additional criteria.

Please note:
The IPC search does not provide patent documents per se. If you have found a useful classification place in the IPC you can transfer this symbol by a single click on the magnifying glass icon directly into a search query in DEPATISnet. The search will open in a new window with the IPC symbol in "All IPC fields".

Legal status information

It is often important in practice to be aware of the current legal status of a certain IP right. Has the patent been granted? Who is the owner? Is it still in force?

DPMAregister contains the legal (including procedural) status data of all patent applications published by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and all granted patents and registered utility models. In addition we provide the corresponding data of European patent applications designating DE and international applications designating DE.

Patent and utility model data are updated in DPMAregister from the application date and made available to the public upon the first-time publication of the invention.

You can search for German patents and utility models (from 1 January 1981 onwards) including those of the former GDR (if still in force).

If you request a given patent number you will get the bibliographic data and information on the legal status of that patent.

Novelty and prior art searches

DEPATISnet contains a collection of about 60 million patent documents from many different countries.

The database is based on the electronic search and archive system used by the patent examiners of the DPMA. This makes DEPATISnet an excellent tool for determining the state of the art before filing a patent application.

Several search modes are available. If you are an expert, you can construct highly complex queries. Before carrying out a search, you should read the information on the structure and content of the database. For details please see the Help pages of DEPATISnet.

Monitoring and infringement searches

Watch searches / Monitoring
Use DPMAregister to conduct watch searches. You can check weekly what inventions have been newly published in a certain field of technology that enjoy protection in Germany, what patent activities specific firms or persons have pursued, what IP rights were released into the public domain due to expiry of the term of protection or non-payment of fees, and much more.

DPMAkurier is a free subscription service for monitoring legal (including procedural) status data.

Request a search

The DPMA carries out prior art searches exclusively in relation to patent or utility model applications. If you wish us to conduct this type of search, please file a search request (Rechercheantrag) and pay the appropriate fee. The search will identify the relevant state of the art and help you to better assess the prospects of your application before filing a request for examination (Prüfungsantrag).

You can also request us to conduct a prior art search in relation to a utility model application in order to find out if your invention is actually new.

Workshops and training

We regularly run workshops and training activities on DEPATISnet and DPMAregister at the Munich and Berlin branches of the DPMA.

Under a cooperation project with the European Patent Office, DPMA staff members organise workshops and training activities on industrial property protection and utilisation of patent information.

Help and advice

You can contact the enquiry units of the DPMA in Munich, Berlin and Jena.

  • The search support database hotline (phone: +49 89 2195-3435) will be pleased to answer your questions.
  • Expert staff provide assistance in the search rooms of the DPMA in Munich (phone: +49 89 2195-2504) and Berlin (phone: +49 30 25992-230, -231). In the search rooms you can use the vast technical library of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and carry out searches in relation to your patent application or inspect files.
  • Searches for patents and utility models are also offered by Patentinformationszentren (patent information centres), commercial information brokers and search agents.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 22/08/17