Servicenavigation und Suchfeld



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Semiconductor rights

Semiconductor rights see Topographies

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

Sound mark

Sound marks are acoustic, audible marks, that means sounds, jingles, melodies or other tunes or noises.

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

Trade marks are signs that distinguish products and services of an enterprise from those of other enterprises. Words, pictures, sounds, three-dimensional shapes, colours or other signs can be registered as trade marks in the Register of the DPMA, provided they can be represented graphically. German trade marks last for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely thereafter.

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.

Vienna classification

Trade marks are classified according to the Vienna Classification to provide a means to search for figurative elements of trade marks and purely figurative marks, for example, in order to find conflicting earlier trade marks. The “Vienna Classification – International Classification of Figurative Elements of Marks” was adopted in Vienna in 1973. It constitutes a hierarchical system that proceeds from the general to the particular, dividing all figurative elements into categories, divisions and sections.

Word mark

Word marks are trade marks that consist of words, letters, numbers or other characters that are part of the standard set of characters used by the DPMA.


World Intellectual Property Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, see
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.

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Last updated: 8 May 2020 


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