Good Reasons for a Patent Application at the DPMA
German patents will continue to be highly attractive even after the introduction of the European Unitary Patent. What are the arguments for filing your invention with the DPMA?
The DPMA is renowned for excellent quality when it comes to examination and services. However, great expertise is not only offered by our examiners – the German patent court system is also famous for its great expert knowledge.
In most cases, the European patent, which has been offered since decades, is validated in only one to three countries, which almost always include Germany. Consequently, in many cases, the less expensive protection with exclusive validity in Germany can be completely sufficient from a strategic point of view. Selective patent strategies with national patent applications at the DPMA will thus continue to play an important role.
One great benefit: In the event of a legal dispute, proprietors of German patents can make full use of the recognised competent national court system including the outstanding technical expertise of its judges.
The costs associated with the new European unitary patent system are significantly higher than those incurred for one to two national patents. The Unitary Patent is mainly interesting for applicants who actually wish to use their patent in several EU member states. There is a cost advantage over the European patent only if patents are validated in more than five countries. However, experience shows that this concerns less than 10% of all applications. About half of all European patents have so far been validated only in the UK, France and Germany.
However, the UK will not participate in the unitary patent system. This means that, there, supplementary protection under a national patent or a European patent effective in the UK may always be required.
If an application with German-language documents is filed with the DPMA, expenses for translations are not incurred, even in the case of a legal dispute. As parties resident or having an establishment in Germany are not required to be represented by a lawyer before the DPMA or the Federal Patent Court, the costs can remain moderate even in the case of a dispute.
Flexibility: Adjustments are possible
The flexibility of the German patent procedure is a clear plus. Applicants have seven years starting from the filing date to file a request for examination and can adjust patent claims at any time. Thus, they remain in control of the protection for their patents.
Double protection in Germany and Europe is possible
In the future, upon entry into force of the UPCA and under certain conditions, applicants will have the possibility of double protection at the European and national level. It will be possible to seek patent protection for the same invention both at the European Patent Office and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office. Such an approach can offer advantages especially in the event of a legal dispute: Protection in Germany can continue on the basis of the national patent even if a patent becomes invalid at the European level.
Quick alternative: the split-off utility model
The split-off utility model is a unique feature of the German IP system. A German utility model can be split off from a patent application with effect in Germany in order to obtain rapid protection. An attractive additional protection option – even if the patent becomes invalid at the European level.
Last updated: 27 March 2023