Patent/IP in Germany
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Intellectual Property in Germany
For a list of Patent Attorneys, please click on the 'Patent Attorneys in Germany' tab located above.
In Germany, Intellectual Property, or IP, as it is colloquially called, is characterised as legal protection for commercially precious products of human intellect. There are, generally, three forms of IP: patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although these articles are similar many some ways, they each have individual idiosyncrasies and definitions which make them unique. Perhaps most importantly, there is no physicality to intellectual property. If effectively safeguards an intangible idea or process.
Generally speaking, patents are granted to inventors for inventions. These can include anything from machinery, tools, processes, chemicals, biotechnology, software, etc.
To qualify for a patent, an inventor must invariably create something that is:
- Of patentable matter
- Unique to patentee
- Merited and can be utilised
In Germany, under a patent, the patentee reserves the right stop or limit others from utilising and trading the invention. Without explicit permission from the patentee, persons using the patent in any of these ways are infringing, and could be subjected to legal action.
The duration of a patent is 20 years from the date of the patent application.
Under German patent law, patents are granted by ruling of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (Deutsches Patent und Markenamt, DPMA).
Foreigners may register patents under the same criterias as German residents. However, applicants must employ a patent attorney as a representative for filing the application.
European Patents are granted under the European Patent Convention (EPC).
Trademarks in Germany are used to denote epithets, logos, symbols, slogans, etc, that are individual to a business and product. Fundamentally, the things that distinguish your product or service from a competitor's. Businesses understandably go to endless lengths to have control over their trademarks. Therefore, any persons found infringing upon them through unlawful use could be subject to legal action.
Famous examples of trademarks are Coca Cola and McDonald's.
A mark can be protected as a trademark by recording it in the register at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (Deutsches Patent und Markenamt, DPMA).
Copyright gives someone to sell and reproduce a protected product, which is invariably printed work. Things like books, magazines, websites, photographs, music, film and art are common examples of copyrighted work. Copyright denotes five rights of the author, artist, etc: reproduction, distribution, adaptation, performance and display. Use of such materials or works without the explicit permission of the copyright holder is classed as infringement, and persons doing so could be subject to legal action.Registration Office
Deutsches Patent und Markenamt
Telephone: +49 30 259 92 220
Fax: +49 30 259 92 404