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Tips for your patent application

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pdf-Datei Tips for your patent application (1,28 MB) (in German)

Are you planning to apply for a patent at our office? To find out which documents you need and how to file your application, choose Application from the drop-down menu under "Application" on the menu bar. Here we have compiled some practical tips for you.

What you have to submit with your patent application

A complete application consists of the application form and the following enclosures:

  • description, in which, on the one hand, you present the known state of the art and, on the other hand, describe the setup and advantages of your own invention
  • patent claims, in which you determine what is new about the invention and for what, in concrete terms, you are seeking patent protection
  • drawings, if you also want to represent your invention graphically
  • abstract
  • mention of the inventor

Information on how to draft the description and phrase the patent claims is available in the leaflet Information for Patent Applicants. On this page, we have compiled information on what you should pay particular attention to in the drawings, the abstract, the mention of the inventor and the patent claims.


What you need to know about the drawings

You can also use drawings to represent your invention graphically. However, your application only has to contain drawings if you refer to them in the description or the patent claims. If you submit drawings, you must observe certain formal requirements of the Patent Ordinance (Patentverordnung), which we have shown in examples 1 and 2.


Example 1

Wrong   Right  
Freehand drawing (A)  Technical drawing done by using a drawing instrument (A) 
Lack of contrast, particularly in grey shades (B)  Sufficient contrast or hatching (B) 
Use of colours (C)  Only black lines and lettering (C) 

Example 2

Wrong  Right 
Patterned or coloured paper, creases or cracks (A)  Smooth white paper (A)  
Overlapping figures (B)   Clearly separated figures (B)  
Minimum margins not adhered to (C)   Minimum margins adhered to (C)  
Numerals and letters too small (D)   Numbers and letters at least 3.2 mm in height (D)  
No or incomplete numbering (E)  Sequential numbering of the figures (E)  
No reference numerals (F)  Reference numerals matching description and patent claims (F) 

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What you need the abstract for

The purpose of the abstract is to inform the public. When conducting a patent search, you can quickly view certain technological fields without having to first read the description and the claims. In terms of content, the abstract shall indicate the technical problem of the invention and be drafted in a way that is sufficiently clear for third parties to understand the technical problem, its solution and the main possible uses. More information on this topic is available in the pdf-Datei Information on the preparation of the abstract. You can also add a drawing to the abstract; please note the following useful hints:

Drawing for the abstract
Wrong  Right 
Several drawings for the abstract   Only one drawing for the abstract 
Parts of drawings on more than one sheet  Drawing may consist of several parts on a single drawing sheet 
Text of abstract and drawing placed on a single sheet  Drawing separated from text of abstract 
Drawing depicting the state of the art  Drawing that most clearly identifies the invention 

What you need to know about the mention of the inventor

Under the Patent Act, the applicant is obliged to indicate the inventor(s) before the expiry of a period of 15 months after the filing date or the priority date. For this purpose, you should use the form pdf-Datei Erfinderbenennung (P2792) and avoid the following errors:

Mention of inventor/signature
Wrong  Right 
Incomplete inventor details  Complete list of all inventors with name and address 
Missing or incomplete transfers of rights of all inventors to the applicant(s)  Conclusive and complete transfers of rights (e.g. by assignment on the basis of the Act on Employee Inventions [Arbeitnehmererfindergesetz]) 
Request for not mentioning the inventor: handwritten signature of the inventor not provided  Request for not mentioning the inventor: handwritten signature of the inventor who does not wish to be mentioned is required  
Only initials provided or abbreviations/function of the signatory not indicated  Characteristic signature with function/signing authority of the signatory provided 
Signature of a co-applicant not provided  All signatures of all co-applicants required in the case of several applicants 

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How to phrase patent claims

The patent claims determine the scope of protection of your patent. Therefore, you should accurately phrase the claims and exactly specify all technical features. Examples of patent claims are given at the end of the leaflet pdf-Datei Information for patent applicants, in patent documents and in the information leaflet pdf-Datei Merkblatt zur Abfassung von nach Merkmalen gegliederten Patentansprüchen. In the next table you can read what you should consider when drafting your patent claims:

Patent claims
Wrong  Right 
Claim numbers allocated twice/
"forgotten" claims/claim numbers skipped 
Consecutive numbering of claims using Arabic numerals 
Incorrect back-references, for example
claim 2: "Process according to claims 3-5"
Circular references, for example claim 2: "Process according to claim 2" 
Consistent back-references, for example:
claim 2: "Process according to claim 1"
claim 3: "Process according to claims 1 or 2" 

Bild: iStock.com/Altayb

Last updated: 10 August 2019 

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