Conditions d'obtention des brevets - Conditions for obtaining a patent - Voraussetzungen für die Erteilung von Patenten

German patents

Germany constitutes the largest European market for many industries and a prime target for exports. The German patent is an economical alternative to the European patent when it is sufficient to protect a limited number of countries within Europe. Furthermore, German courts have a proven track record in patent litigation matters, so that German granted patents can often be used quickly and efficiently against possible infringement.

European Patent Application - Brevets Européens - Europäisches Patent

German patent: patentability search

When an invention is submitted to us, we first start by checking its novelty by means of a patentability search. The aim of this search is to determine precisely the prior art that is closest to the invention. To complete the search, a report is established that contains a list of patents and possible articles published by third parties that raise concerns as to the patentability of the invention, as well as our advice for protection.

The costs of the patentability search are invoiced according to a flat fee agreed in advance, often around CHF 3’000 + VAT for an invention of average complexity.

Nearly half of the inventions that are submitted to us are abandoned in the light of the patentability search report, when the inventors become aware that the prospects of obtaining protection do not justify the costs or efforts. In this case, the patentability search that was carried out enables the applicant to achieve considerable cost savings by avoiding the filing of a useless application.

Should the procedure on the other hand continue with the drafting of a patent application, the patentability search makes it possible to ascertain which characteristics can be effectively protected and to optimize the drafting of an application to highlight clearly the differences between the new invention and the documents uncovered by the search.

The patentability search report is also accompanied by one or several suggestions as to the strategy for protecting the invention, taking into account the commercial prospects of the invention, the uncovered prior art and the applicant’s budget.

Dépôt d'une demande de brevet

German patent: filing

The text and the drawings of the patent application are then filed with the German Patent Office (DMPA) in Munich with a corresponding request. The formalities department of the DMPA checks formal aspects and gives the application an application number and a filing date.

From this date onwards, the invention described in the application may be disclosed publicly or commercialised without this publication being opposable to the patent.
Brevet allemand

German patent: search report/examination

Within the framework of the examination process, an examiner from the DPMA will examine whether the German patent application fulfils all requirements in terms of patentability, including novelty and inventiveness. This examination procedure begins once the examination fees have been paid, which can be done at the time of filing or within a time period of 7 years at most after the filing date.

In the context of this examination, the examiner will perform a search in order to determine the prior art on which the assessment of novelty and inventiveness will be based. The search can be requested prior to the examination upon payment of a small additional fee in order to obtain the results faster.

German patent: publication

German patent applications are published about 18 months after the filing date, or if a priority is claimed, after the date of the oldest priority.

German patent: office actions

In most cases, the examiner will identify a certain number of defects which in his opinion preclude the grant of a German patent. The main objections raised include lack of novelty, lack of inventiveness or problems of clarity. The examiner in this case will issue an office action (“Prüfbescheid”) in order to communicate these objections to the applicant. The issues raised can be resolved by filing arguments or modifications of the application in order to achieve grant of the patent. New office actions are issued as long as the examiner counters these arguments. It is also possible to request oral proceedings before the DPMA if necessary.

Brevet délivré

German patent: grant

The German patent is granted when the application, possibly amended, fulfils the patentability criteria. A decision to grant is issued wherein the protection granted is defined. This ends any possibility of making further amendments. The patent is published shortly after this decision.

It is possible to take action against a third party after the grant. The owner can also apply markings on the product protected by using indications such as “Deutsches Patent”, “patented” etc.

German patent: renewal fees

The validity of a German patent is 20 years maximum, provided however that annual maintenance fees are paid each year. The annuities, which increase progressively, must be paid to the DPMA.

abandon du brevet européen ; déchéance

German patent: lapse

The German patent or patent application may cease to produce its effect in one of the following cases:

  • in any case, 20 years after the filing date
  • if the applicant or owner stops paying the renewal fees or any other required fee
  • if the applicant fails to answer an office action from the DPMA
  • in case the application is rejected on the grounds that it does not comply with the requirements of the German Patents Act
  • in case of revocation by a court