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E-invoice: Further step towards a paperless office

German Patent and Trade Mark Office processes all invoices fully electronically – DPMA President: We are pioneers of e-government

Press release of 1 July 2019

Munich. A few months ago, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) was the first federal authority in Germany to have launched the pilot operation for electronic processing of invoices – now the e-invoice project is going live. From 1 July onwards, the DPMA will use full digital processing for all incoming invoices. Invoices that do not already arrive in digital format, the format known as XRechnung, will be digitised; all invoice transactions will be fed into a specially designed SAP template and then be handled exclusively electronically. "Our electronic invoice processing goes far beyond the legal requirements and thereby we once again want to live up to our pioneering role among the German authorities in terms of e-government," DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer said.

Pursuant to European law (Directive 2014/55/EU), federal authorities are obliged to receive and process electronic invoices as from 27 November 2019. The DPMA receives electronic invoices in XREchnung format via the central federal billing platform (ZRE Bund). This means that the federal authority meets this legal requirement several months earlier than required. "In the course of the new legal requirements, we have decided to anticipate future developments and process all invoices electronically as early as now," DPMA President Rudloff-Schäffer explained. "In this context, we benefit from our extensive experience with electronic services and our existing digital infrastructure." Patent and utility model procedures (since 2011) and trade mark procedures (since 2015) have long been handled exclusively in electronic case files. In addition, there are several e-services for DPMA customers. "I am pleased that we can now also offer electronic access to our suppliers and service providers," the DPMA President emphasised.

The pilot operation in recent months has been extremely successful: 3,330 invoices were included into the electronic workflow of the DPMA until the end of June – of which 39 were in the XRechnung format. The DPMA receives more than 8,000 invoices per year covering a total of around 50 million euros for purchased products and services – from ballpoint pens to IT servers to staff training courses.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Inventiveness and creativity need effective protection. The DPMA is the German centre of expertise for all intellectual property rights – patents, utility models, trade marks and designs. As the largest national patent office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world, our office stands for the future of Germany as a country of inventors in a globalised economy. Its staff of over 2,600 at three locations – Munich, Jena and Berlin – provide services for inventors and companies. They implement federal innovation strategies and develop the national, European and international protection systems further.

Last updated: 17/10/19 

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