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International Cooperation

Increasing importance of international cooperation

In the age of globalisation the DPMA relies on intensified cooperation with national and international intellectual property organisations. The DPMA participates in the activities of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and European agencies.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva

WIPO is a specialised agency of the United Nations and an umbrella organisation for several international treaties and conventions on intellectual property. Currently, WIPO has 189 Member states.

The DPMA is actively involved in the decision-making processes in the various WIPO committees in Geneva. WIPO administers the following important international treaties and conventions among others:

PCT - Patent Cooperation Treaty

A world patent does not exist since patents are only valid in the country, in which they were granted. Under the PCT, it is possible to obtain patent protection in up to 152 countries in the world. Only one international application is required for this purpose. The applicant files this application at the patent office of his home country.

The patent office of the home country transmits the patent application to WIPO, which starts further processing under the PCT. The application procedure under the PCT consists of two phases, the international phase and the national phase.

Madrid system for the international registration of trade marks

International registration of trade marks is possible under the Madrid system. The Madrid system is based in two treaties: the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Agreement) and the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement (Madrid Protocol). Both are also administered by WIPO. Under the Madrid system the applicant is saved the effort of parallel registrations in several countries by allowing him to simply file one application for international registration. The application is filed directly at the applicant's own national trade mark office and transmitted to WIPO where the trade mark is registered, a so-called 'international registration'.

WIPO notifies the countries for which trade mark protection is requested ('extension' of the trade mark). However, the respective countries are authorised to examine the trade mark under their respective national trade mark legislation. If requirements for protection are not met, a national trade mark office, within certain time limits, may refuse protection of the trade mark within its territory.

Currently, 98 countries or regional organisations - such as the European Union - are parties to the Madrid Agreement and/ or the Madrid Protocol.

Cooperation with other national patent offices

Collection of patent documents

Cooperation between the DPMA and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) began as early as in 1982. Since then, the DPMA has provided assistance in drafting the patent law, training of examiners and introducing information technology, inter alia. A new partnership agreement between SIPO and the DPMA was signed in October 2007.

In October 2007, a memorandum of cooperation was also signed with the patent authority of India. Under the PPH, the two offices exchange and mutually use work results to avoid duplication of work and to increase the efficiency of the patent procedure.

In the past few years, further extensive development cooperation projects were undertaken with the patent offices of Turkey, Thailand and Croatia. Presently, another cooperation project is run by the DPMA and the Institute for Industrial Property of Brazil.

Outside the scope of development cooperation, the DPMA participates in an exchange of examiners with the patent offices of the United Kingdom, Japan, the Republic of Korea and China.

Globale Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH)

The purpose of the multilateral Global Patent Prosecution Highway (GPPH) pilot is to speed up processing of patent applications through the exchange und mutual use of work products.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office has joined the GPPH on 6 July 2015. Any national and regional patent offices may participate in this pilot. Currently, there are 22 patent authorities involved in the GPPH. The Global PPH pilot supersedes the existing bilateral Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements of the DPMA.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 26/05/17