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Four Departments

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) has four departments:

See organisation chart of the DPMA

Department 1 - Patents and Utility Models

electronic TV tube

About 800 patent examiners examine patent applications, grant patents and deal with oppositions against granted patents.

The Utility Model Unit processes utility model and topography applications and decides on requests for the cancellation of utility models.

In addition, the duties of the Departments 1 comprise:

  • searches for the state of the art of a patent application outside the examination procedure,
  • arbitration proceedings under the Law on Employees' Inventions,
  • cancellation proceedings in relation to utility models and searches for the state of the art in relation to utility models, and
  • training of patent attorney candidates.

Department 2 - Information

old books with modern notebook

Department 2 informs the public about industrial property rights. The enquiry units provide information on the steps of a patent, utility model, trade mark or design application. Department 2 also manages the databases of the DPMA and provides support to users regarding IP searches.

The Technical Information Centre Berlin (TIZ) is a branch of the DPMA which is also part of Department 2. The TIZ coordinates cooperation with the more than 20 patent information centres (PIZ) throughout Germany.

The library is integrated in Department 2. It contains more than one million publications in the field of science, technology and industrial property rights and more than 83 million patent documents.

Staff members of Department 2 are also responsible for the operation and further development of the IT systems and applications used by the office, such as the electronic case file.

Department 3 - Trade Marks and Designs

Trade mark symbol registered R

The more than 350 staff members of Department 3 deal with trade mark and design procedures at the office locations in Munich and Jena.

In the trade mark area, they examine applications for national trade marks. They take decisions on oppositions filed against trade mark registrations and in trade mark cancellation procedures. In addition, they manage international registrations of marks. File administration of the approximately 780,000 registered trade marks is managed at the Jena Sub-Office. The designs unit is also located at the Jena Sub-Office.

Department 4 - Administration and Law

documents in file folder

The staff members of Department 4 - Administration and Law manage the typical administrative tasks including:

  • personnel administration and personnel development
  • training
  • internal service
  • budget
  • organisation
  • statistics

Furthermore, the Department Administration and Law deals with general legal issues (such as checking contracts between the DPMA and service providers) and legal questions relating to national and international industrial property protection, copyright and patent attorneys and representatives matters.
The Department Administration and Law is also in charge of government supervision of collecting societies.

Arbitration Boards


The following bodies are part of the organisation of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office:

  • Arbitration Board under the Law on Employees' Inventions,
  • Arbitration Board under the Collecting Societies Act, VGG.

© 2016 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Last updated 18/09/17