Patent Registration Procedures in Germany
1) Overall necessary procedure – Documents needed
This has to be a process concise, thorough but still easy to follow by anyone who is keen on actually completing it properly. Thus it is not only a matter of just filling in an application form, but rather more pieces of information have to be included in such an overall application procedure:
- Technicalities of the invention described and included (reference signs are more than welcome)
- Claims dealing with patents as such
- In some cases drawings could turn out to be a good and useful idea
- Details regarding the inventor as such
So, if we were to conclude, the following need to be present in case of a proper full-blown application procedure:
- Proper description in a way that actually compares the present established situation, whereas and definitely what is the innovative thing about the invention you are currently introducing
- Necessary patent claims, or in a nutshell, straightforward and targeted description of the specifics of your invention, and why it is so vital to have it properly protected in terms of a patent process
- Clear drawings, to have your invention laid out in graphics
- Concise summary
- Details of the inventor
Important tip: dealing with patents is not an easy do-it-yourself task. Technicalities of legal nature shall definitely get in your way, hence the need of a skilled pattern lawyer who shall be overviewing all necessary steps of the process, especially so, if you are not a German national.
Details such as the ones mentioned just above can make all the difference in the world and time is definitely one of them. Keeping track of time by especially establishing labels of date is of vital importance because, actually, you are not allowed to be late as soon as your patent is a go: file your patent immediately after it has been completed because you can never tell if there is a similar invention out there on which your competitor has also been investing time and money. Therefore, file your invention as soon as you feel confident because sooner or later priority date shall become a major issue which more or less shall determine the future evolution of your pattern both in Germany but also abroad.
All necessary documentation is to be submitted in principle in German. However if this is not the case, certain distinctions have to be made with regards to the selection of a different, and in particular whether it is English and French, or otherwise. In a few words, if the filing has been made by having used English or French, the necessary translation has to be handed in within twelve months’ time as of the priority aka filing date, whereas in any other case, such a translation is to be provided for within three months’ time as of priority date, i.e. way sooner.
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2) Necessary Payments to be made
Costs and in particular fees form always part of such procedures, and they are necessary both in terms of submitting an application, but also when it comes to the actual examination of the patent at hand. Renewal is also to be considered on an annual basis after three years’ time in order for someone to continue to be considered properly and utterly protected. It goes without saying that proper and full payment is not to be negotiated, if you do not wish to run the risk of an IP right loss.
|Fees to be considered at all times||Amount|
|Electronic filing application fee (ten patent inclusive claim)||40 euros|
|– in case of a further claim, such fee is to be increased by||20 euros|
|Paper-based filing application fee (ten patent inclusive claim)||60 euros|
|– in case of a further claim, such fee is to be increased by||30 euros|
|Search request fee||300 euros|
|Examination fee after the filing of a search request||150 euros|
|Examination fee without the filing of a previous search request||350 euros|
|Annual fee after 3 patent years’ time||70 euros|
|Annual fee after 4 patent years’ time||70 euros|
|Annual fee after 5 patent years’ time||90 euros|
|Annual fee after 6 patent years’ time||130 euros|
Payment calendar and thresholds
- As soon as you file your application regarding your patent a respective acknowledgement of receipt shall be forwarded back to you including a necessary file number. No other numbers or notifications of any sort are to be produced and/or delivered
- For your own reassurance, please check that the necessary application fee has been duly received within the time period of three months’ time as of the date of proper filing. If not, a legal process shall be initiated so as for the fee to be paid as per the provisions of sec. 6(2) Patent Costs Act [Patentkostengesetz]
- Paying the annual fee when supposed to do so in order to maintain the protective status of your patent right comes with a responsibility. So, please note that no one is to call or notify you for such a payment. It is you who has to keep track of time by making sure that the fee is paid – the latest – by the last day of that certain month you concluded the application process; in other words, after the conclusion of two full years there will be a two-month window in order to fully pay the necessary fee without any further costs to be imposed, unless it takes you even four more months to pay in which case a surcharge of 50, 00€ more will have to paid as a sort of an imposed fine
3) Patent Protection Abroad
In principle someone gets the patent protected only in terms of his/ her own national territory; this has been practically established as the principle of territoriality. In a few words, once you file your application, you get to be protected only in terms of your own specific territory, in this case just the Federal Republic of Germany.
Someone could also suggest that there is also -and always- the route of a country at a time, something which practically means that as long as you file individual petitions, you get to be registered and protected in as many countries as possible on a case-by-case basis.
However there is also the much preferred option of filing an EU application of the sort, which is quite an efficient way to establish proper patent protection, or even the international –sort of speak- application according to the International Patent Classification (IPC), a process established by the1971 Strasbourg Agreement, which in the actual words of the World International Property Organization, W.I.P.O., “provides for a hierarchical system of language independent symbols for the classification of patents and utility models according to the different areas of technology to which they pertain” (https://www.wipo.int/classifications/ipc/en/). Please do keep in mid though, that there is no such a thing as a “world patent directory” despite all good-will efforts to that end by many involved therein parties.
Last but not least, please take notice of one more thing. As soon as you file your application within the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany, you reserve a twelve-month right to have that patent right registered with an authority abroad as of the exact date of the first filing of your right. However if you miss that twelve-month window, you automatically miss that retroactive in essence right of yours and you only get to register your right as of the exact date following the twelve-month window; this could cause you unnecessary fuss and anxiety given that in such cases time is always of vital essence, and your novelty rights could be put in question; thus, be prepared and stay alert at all times.