Protection for your technical inventions
From everyday objects to sophisticated high-tech products: economically successful ideas are often copied or imitated. With patents you can protect your technical inventions (innovative products or processes) against unwanted imitation.
Patents reward their owner by granting him or her a temporary and geographically limited monopoly of use. They also fulfil an important information function: the publication of the invention provides incentives for further research and development. Inventors and consumers benefit equally from this promotion of innovation and the increase in knowledge.
Patents facilitate business decisions
Patents also play an important role in business decisions. They indicate strategies and development trends and provide incentives for the further development of the state of the art.
Patents can also be of interest when evaluating a company.
The patent portfolio of a company represents an important property value and provides information about the innovative power of a company. Patent protection strengthens companies in global competition and is an important location factor.
Importance for technology-transfer
In addition, intellectual property rights can increase the motivation of a company’s employees: If a company applies for a patent for an employee’s invention, the employee is entitled to inventor remuneration.
Patents also play an important role in technology transfer: they can help to find partners for further developments and entrepreneurial cooperation or can be useful for obtaining funding. Patents help to secure high development costs. Successful marketing strategies enable reinvestment, which in turn is a motor for research and development.
Invention is protected for 20 years
A patent does not automatically come into existence when an application is filed with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA). First, the invention must successfully pass the examination procedure required by law. This examines whether the subject matter of the application is new to a person skilled in the art, whether it is based on an inventive step, and whether the invention is disclosed in a workable manner and is susceptible of industrial application. The publication of the grant of the patent in the Patent Gazette creates the patentee’s right to protection and prohibition. A granted patent is valid for a maximum of twenty years, beginning on the day after the application is filed. However, there are exceptions for pharmaceuticals and plant protection products.
Cross-border protection possible
Patents, like all other industrial property rights, are subject to the territoriality principle and are valid only in the country or territory for which they were granted. You can therefore only assert rights under a patent granted by the DPMA within Germany.
However, there are of course possibilities to extend a patent application at the DPMA to other countries.
As a patent proprietor you can exploit your invention yourself and secure an exclusive position on the market. You are in a position to make it more difficult or even impossible for competitors to enter a certain market segment. However, you can also sell, inherit or license your property right. With a licence, the patent holder transfers the exploitation to another party, in return for which he receives royalties.
You can search inventions for which a declaration of willingness to grant a licence under Sec. 23 Patent Law or a non-binding declaration of interest in obtaining a licence has been issued online in DPMAregister. These search options help applicants and owners of IP rights to find a licensee and companies and management consultants to find licensors.
Utility models – the quick alternative to patents
The non-binding declaration of licence interest can also be issued for utility models, the quick and inexpensive alternative to a patent. Utility models offer similar protection to a patent, but the registration procedure is considerably shorter as the invention is not subject to technical examination (and is therefore more easily contestable).
Overview of the state of the art
A patent search reveals the state of the art in the field of the invention presented in the patent application. Searches in patent databases and literature can help you to avoid expensive and unnecessary duplicate developments. You can also prevent the risk of infringing other people’s property rights. Searches enable you to better assess the risk of imminent nullity actions against your property right.