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I - M

Industrial property rights

Industrial property rights comprise patents, utility models, trade marks and designs rights. They provide protection to inventors or enterprises against copying by competitors for a limited period of time. Trade marks can even be renewed indefinitely.

International Patent Classification (IPC)

Utility models and patents are classified by categories according to technological fields. The IPC is a hierarchical system in which all fields of technology are divided into sections, classes, subclasses, groups and subgroups (for example: Section G - Physics, class G 10 - musical instruments, subclass G 10 C - pianos).


An invention comprises a problem and a solution: a new and not obvious technical teaching allowing to solve a problem by technical means. In addition, it must be possible to perform and repeat the invention.

Inventive step (inventiveness)

An invention is deemed to involve an inventive step if it is not obvious to a skilled person in the light of the state of the art. To qualify for patent protection, an invention must clearly differ from prior art (inventiveness).

Locarno Classification

International agreement establishing a classification for designs to be registered.

Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks

International agreement on the protection of trade marks within the scope of the Paris Convention.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 18/09/17