File inspection

Yellow document folders with a single blue file

Which files can be inspected?

The case files of the following IP procedures can be inspected by anybody without charge:

  • patent applications after publication (compare Sec. 31 Patent Act)
  • utility models (Sec. 8(5) Utility Model Act) upon registration
  • trade marks (Sec. 62 Trade Mark Act) upon registration
  • designs (Sec. 22 Design Act) also upon registration

Online file inspection is available for most of the patent and utility model case files via DPMAregister. Detailed information is available on the webpage online file inspection.

A written request is required for file inspection - except for online file inspection. Mailing address and fax number you will find on the website Contact. Please provide a separate request for each file number. Usually, it will take about two weeks to deal with the request. The files can then be inspected at one of the three the offices of the DPMA in Munich, Jena and Berlin. You can also order paper copies or prints of the case file for a charge.

Certain parts of files are excluded from file inspection, if the person concerned has an overriding legitimate interest in the privacy of their data (e.g. personal information allowing to draw conclusions about the economic, financial or health situation of the applicant, such as for example, requests for reinstatement or legal aid).

DPMA case files of proceedings pending before the Federal Patent Court are also available for file inspection at the DPMA. The case files created at the Federal Patent Court can be inspected at the Federal Patent Court.

For the inspection of case files of still unpublished IP rights, a procedure called “restricted file inspection” is applicable. The inspection of unpublished files is subject to a written request and a fee. The request for file inspection is granted if the person filing the request can prove a justified interest.
After the request has been granted, photocopies of the files can be sent out or the files can be inspected in the office buildings of the DPMA, however, online inspection of the case files is not possible.


Last updated: 2 March 2022