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Reform package strengthens innovation location germany

Hearings by video conferencing, more generous time limits – DPMA President praises amendments

Press release of 18 August 2021

Munich. The Second Act to Simplify and Modernise Patent Law (Second Patent Law Modernisation Act – 2. Patentrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz) provides for numerous amendments in patent law and in other IP procedures before the DPMA. The new provisions were promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette (part I, p. 3490) on 17 August 2021. "The reform package strengthens the outstanding position of Germany and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office as a location for intellectual property protection in comparison with other countries in Europe and around the world," commented DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer.

As an important element
for procedures before the DPMA, envisaged to be available from next year onwards, the Second Patent Law Modernisation Act provides for the option to participate in proceedings and hearings, and give evidence in IP procedures using image and sound transmission. This means that parties can participate in sessions by video conferencing in suitable cases to be decided by the DPMA. In many cases, this saves costs and time and can accelerate the procedures. However, it is still possible to directly participate on site. "The coronavirus pandemic has once again clearly shown to us how important it is to have flexible and tailor-made solutions at the ready for our customers," said the DPMA President and added: "By providing the option to participate in proceedings and hearings, and give evidence online via video conferencing, we are expanding our e-government services in keeping with our mission statement as a digital service authority."

The Second Patent Law Modernisation Act will also create uniform rules on public holidays. In the future, all public holidays applicable at at least one of the DPMA locations will be recognised for the purpose of extending a time limit. As the DPMA locations are in different federal German Länder, different public holidays are applicable there.

Another legislative amendment takes into account a long-standing request of the applicant community: The period for international applications (PCT applications) to enter the national phase at the DPMA as designated office or elected office will be extended from 30 to 31 months. DPMA President Rudloff-Schäffer said that experience had shown that many applicants made full use of the period for entry into the national phase and that a long period of decision-making was very important, especially in the PCT area, in order to assess the chances of success of a patent application entering the national phase, look for possible investors for marketing the invention or prepare formal steps.

The three amendments mentioned above will enter into force on 1 May 2022. The DPMA will first establish the necessary technical infrastructure for participation in proceedings and hearings, and giving evidence by video conferencing.

Furthermore, on 1 May 2022, the annual fees for supplementary protection certificates will be raised and trade mark law will be brought into line with the current legal situation of the Madrid system for international trade mark protection.

The main purpose of further amendments and new provisions in the IP Acts, which have already entered into force on 18 August 2021, pursuant to Article 13(1) of the Second Patent Law Modernisation Act, is to simplify and clarify procedures.

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 just under 2,800 at three locations – Munich, Jena and Berlin – provide services to inventors and companies. They implement federal innovation strategies and develop the national, European and international IP systems further.

Last updated: 23 August 2021 

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