Enforcing utility model rights
Please note that the German Patent and Trade Mark Office is not allowed to provide legal advice. Therefore, the information below cannot replace legal advice by a lawyer, but will give you a rough and non-exhaustive overview of the options available to you.
Get active as soon as possible. Watch the market and competitors to detect patent infringements. Make the work as difficult for infringers of your utility model as possible. Professional providers of search services, such as the Patent Information Centres, offer assistance in this field.
The enforcement of industrial property rights requires extensive legal knowledge. Therefore, it is advisable in most cases to seek legal assistance from a lawyer.
- Lawyers with special knowledge in the field of IP protection (specialist lawyers for IP protection) in your region can be found via the chambers of lawyers.
- Patent attorneys can be found via a nationwide patent attorney search, a service of the Chamber of Patent Attorneys.
How to enforce your utility model?
To enforce your utility model right, you have the following options, among others: infringement action, injunction and/or application for border seizure. In addition, utility model infringement may be punishable by law under certain circumstances.
- Infringement action
You can pursue IP infringement primarily under civil law, i.e. you can sue for infringement in the regional courts (Sec. 27(1) Utility Model Act [Gebrauchsmustergesetz]) (in German). Please note that you must appoint a lawyer to represent you before the regional courts. That means that you must have a lawyer to enforce your claims in court.
In infringement proceedings, you can assert the following claims, for example:
- claim for cessation and desistance (Sec. 24(1) Utility Model Act) (in German)
- claim for compensation (Sec. 24(2) Utility Model Act) (in German)
- claim for destruction (Sec. 24a Utility Model Act) (in German)
- claim for information (Sec. 24b Utility Model Act) (in German)
Court proceedings may often be time-consuming. Where there is a need for urgency, an injunction may offer provisional legal protection.
Important: If an injunction proves to be unjustified from the outset, the opponent can claim compensation from the person filing the request for injunction.
- Application for border seizure
To prevent copied or fake products from entering the European market, you can submit an application for border seizure (
- Criminal proceedings
Deliberate IP infringement is in principle punishable by law, but as a rule is only prosecuted upon request ( Using three Cases as examples we will show you what you can do if problems arise through third parties: Picture: iStock.com/nautiluz56 Last updated: 8 May 2020
Examples – what you can do if …
Using three Cases as examples we will show you what you can do if problems arise through third parties:
Last updated: 8 May 2020