1. Brief Introduction into the Patent Law

Already in the year 1474 a patent law had been established in Venice, which was characterized by the criteria of novelty, enablement and utility. Hence, the patent is one of the oldest IP rights.

Patents are granted for inventions in all technical fields, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are industrial applicable (ยง 1 I Patent Act).

Any teaching of a technical action, which causes a predictable success, can be an invention. Such teachings may be for example a new substance, a new apparatus or a new method.

Teachings are considered as new when having been unknown to the public, neither in writing nor otherwise, at the time of filing an application for the invention to request grant of a patent. Teachings involve an inventive step, if the teachings are not obvious for persons skilled in the art, in other words, teachings exceed usual technical skills.

The German and European patent law explicitly excludes several teachings from being an invention. For example, discoveries, scientific theories (but not their utilization), aesthetic creations (which may be protected as designs), programs / rules / methods for mental activities / games / commercial activities (usually subject to copy right) and software (usually subject to copy right - in the event that the software creates a technical effect, protection as a patent may be possible).

Patents are exclusive rights. In other words, only the owner of the patent is permitted to use the invention. The patent law does not range over activities undertaken in the private domain. The scope of protection is defined by the patent claims. The impact of a patent is not automatically worldwide, as patents feature territorial protections. Our team is eager to assist you in clarifying the question, of which territorial volume the protection of your invention is in need.

Before filing an application, the invention has to be thoroughly analyzed. Based on this analysis we draft a description, patent claims and drawings, which are to disclose the invention in detail. These documents are the basis for the further proceedings at the German Patent and Trademark Office or European Patent Office. Upon filing the application, amendments to the application documents are limited. Therefore, we strongly recommend consulting a patent attorney during the elaboration of description, patent claims and drawings. As a part of the judicature, patent attorneys are bound to secrecy. The costs for preparing application documents are dependent on the complexity of an invention and may usually range between 3,000.00 EUR and 8,000.00 EUR (plus tax).

Upon completion of drafting the application documents, a request is filed at the competent Patent Offices. In many countries, for example Germany, USA, Japan and China, before grant these documents are examined to determine whether the invention is novel and involves an inventive step. The European Patent Office (EPO) covers 28 member states of the European Union as well as 10 additional member states, including Switzerland and Turkey among others, and centrally examines European patent applications for the member states of the European Patent Convention (EPC). Once the examination of an application is completed, a patent is granted or a decision to refuse the patent application is issued. At best, the examination lasts one and a half year, at worst, an examination lasts over several years. The examination of patent applications is subject to official fees which can amount to several hundred through several thousand Euro. During examination proceedings, official communications regarding substantive examination are issued in response to which suitable responses must be filed. In this regard, our patent attorneys would also be pleased to assist you. In proceedings before the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) we can act as direct representatives, in proceedings before other national Patent Offices we co-operate with national patent attorneys. The associated costs arising during examination proceedings will vary according to the amount of work involved. In the event that the German Patent and Trademark Office efficiently decides to grant a patent, costs may amount to 1,500.00 EUR up to 2,000.00 EUR. These costs may increase during extended proceedings, or if co-operation with foreign colleagues is required, by up to several thousand Euro.

While maintaining patents in general annually increasing annuity fees are due to be paid at the Patent Offices.

We emphasize that the above information offers only a rough orientation and may not replace a personal consultation with a patent attorney.

2. Overview of services

Our services cover in the field of Patent Law in particular:

The drafting and preparation of application documents and entourage of our patent attorneys during application and examination proceedings of

  • German patent applications
  • European patent applications
  • International applications (PCT applications)
  • Foreign national applications

Additionally, we offer consultation in the following areas:

  • Drafting of patent applications
  • Prior art searches
  • Patent strategy and patent management
  • Oversee, managing, monitoring and renewing national, European and International patent portfolios
  • Negotiation and acquisition of license agreements
  • Employee's inventions rights

We provide legal advice and representation

  • for patent infringement, including warning letters, preliminary injunctions, and filing lawsuits regarding patent infringement,
       as well as defense of attacks of third parties
  • in opposition and nullity proceedings
  • in mediation cases

The power of representation of our office includes representation before the following Offices, Courts and Organizations:

  • German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) in Munich
  • European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich and The Hague
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva
  • German Federal Patent Court (BPatG) in Munich
  • German District Courts and Higher Regional Courts (LG, OLG)
  • German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe

3. Filing patent application

Any natural or legal person, or anybode equivalent to a legal person, may apply for a German patent and may protect the patent in the European Union or worldwide. We are eager to assist you in all aspects of filing a patent application.

Preliminary work

Before filing your patent application at the German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich, we would be pleased to give you our professional advice. We then prepare the documents for your patent application, which protects the idea of your invention in a written form covering description, patent claims and drawings, protecting your invention - a requirement for achieving utmost protection. We would be pleased to provide you with our evaluation, to determine whether your technical invention is new.

Contact can be made in writing or by telephone, however, we would also be very pleased to arrange a personal consultation in our office.

Official fees

When filing a German patent application, official fees are due and to be paid to the Office. The official application fee amounts to 60.00 EUR covering a patent application up to ten patent claims. The official fee for the eleventh and any further patent claims amounts to 30.00 EUR per claim. It may take several years from filing the application to grant of a patent. However, official fees are a minor part of the total costs arising. The total costs up to grant of a German patent, may be several thousand Euros, and in case of European patents it may amount to more than twenty thousand Euros, including translation costs. When filing worldwide applications for your invention, costs of more than one hundred thousand Euros are to be taken into account.

Important to note

When filing a patent application at the German Patent and Trademark Office and after grant of a patent for this application, protection is obtained only for Germany. If protection or your patent is desired in the European Union, a European patent application can be filed at the European Patent Office or national applications in the countries of your interest not covered by the EPC.

If further protection is sought outside Germany and the European Union, either national applications can be filed in countries of your interest, or a single application can be filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Requesting an International application allows obtaining protection up to 148 contracting parties. This request can be filed directly at the International Bureau of the WIPO or via the German Patent and Trademark Office or the European Patent Office.

We would be happy to assist you.