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Semiconductor rights

Semiconductor rights see Topographies

Splitting off

Before the expiry of 10 years from the filing date, a utility model may be split off from a patent application for the same invention. For this purpose the utility model application (with splitting off declaration) must be filed within two months after the conclusion of processing of the patent application.

State of the art (prior art)

The state of the art comprises all knowledge made available to the public before the date of filing. Regarding patent applications, written or oral descriptions from anywhere in the world are taken into account. These include all published patent applications.

Topographies - semiconductor rights

Three-dimensional structures of microelectronic semiconductors are protectable, similar to inventions. For example, you can apply for topography protection of the structure of a memory chip or a processor.
A topography is only eligible for protection if it has a so-called 'individual character'. The topography unit of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office does not check, prior to registration, whether this requirement is met.
Thus, the topography right is an unexamined IP right, similar to the utility model. It will be examined only when a request for cancellation has been filed. A topography that does not meet the requirement of 'individual character' constitutes a fictitious right and does not provide any protection, from the beginning.
More information is provided in the brochure 'Merkblatt für die Anmelder der Topografien von mikroelektronischen Halbleitererzeugnissen' (German).

Trade mark

A trade mark serves to distinguish the products and services of a particular enterprise from those of other enterprises. You can register words, letters, numbers, pictures, sounds or three-dimensional configurations as trade marks.

TRIPS Agreement

Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade Organization

Utility model

A utility model is - like the patent - an IP right for the protection of technical inventions. In contrast to a patent, the invention is not examined for novelty, inventiveness and industrial applicability, within the scope of the registration procedure. For this reason a utility model can be obtained fast and at low cost. An examination will only be carried out if a third party files a request for the cancellation of the utility model. The maximum term of protection of a utility model is ten years.


World Intellectual Property Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, see http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en.
WIPO was founded in 1967 with the aim to promote the protection of intangible property throughout the world. It is an agency of the United Nations and manages international patent, trade mark and designs applications.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 23/05/17