Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt

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Patents protect new technical inventions. They confer to their owners a territorial monopoly right for a limited period. The patent owner alone is entitled to exploit the invention. He can prohibit unauthorised commercial use of the patented invention. Patents allow to derive economic benefits from inventions.

In return, the patent owner has legal duties. By filing a patent application he agrees to the publication of his invention. Thus, a patent can serve as a standard for other inventors and as a basis for further developments in the relevant field of technology.

Patents are examined IP rights. Only inventions fulfilling the requirements for patent protection will be patented in the examination procedure.

Utility models

Utility model registration provides fast and low-cost protection of technical inventions. Utility model protection is also available for chemical substances, food and pharmaceuticals, but not for processes, such as manufacturing, working or measuring processes.

Whereas it frequently takes several years to obtain a patent, a utility model may be registered within a few weeks after filing the application. Filing a utility model application is a fast way to get a fully fledged, enforceable IP right.

In the procedure before the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, a utility model application is only examined for compliance with formal requirements. However, the DPMA does not examine whether the subject-matter of the invention contained in the utility model application actually qualifies for protection.

Supplementary protection certificates

Often a lengthy procedure is necessary to obtain authorisation to place new medicinal or plant protection products on the market. Consequently, this considerably reduces the effective duration of protection afforded by the patent. The supplementary protection certificate is intended to make up for the reduced duration.
Supplementary protection certificates provide an option to extend the term of protection for medicinal or plant protection inventions.

Topographies - semiconductor rights

Three-dimensional structures of microelectronic semiconductors are protectable, similar to inventions. For example, you can apply for topography protection of the structure of a memory chip or a processor.

A topography is only eligible for protection if it has a so-called 'individual character'. The topography unit of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office does not check, prior to registration, whether this requirement is met.

Thus, the topography right is an unexamined IP right, similar to the utility model. It will be examined only when a request for cancellation has been filed. A topography that does not meet the requirement of 'individual character' constitutes a fictitious right and does not provide any protection, from the beginning.

© 2019 Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt | Stand vom 19.08.2019