Please bear in mind that the patent system is a very complex field of law. It may be advisable to retain the services of a patent attorney for preparing and filing a patent application. If you are not residing in Germany, you are legally required to be represented by a patent attorney.
Clear and complete presentation of the invention
An invention must be disclosed in the application documents in a manner sufficiently clear and complete for it to be carried out by a person skilled in the art. It does not suffice to simply fill in the request form.
Your patent application must comprise the following additional elements:
- technical description of the invention, list of reference signs, where applicable
- patent claims
- drawings, if required
- naming of the inventor
The technical description and the patent claims must be filed together with the application. The abstract and the inventor’s name can be submitted subsequently, within 15 months from the date of filing.
You must fully present (disclose) your invention when filing the application since a subsequent extension of the technical information is not admissible. Within one year from the date of filing, however, you can add further details or a further development of your original invention by claiming a “domestic priority”.
The patent claims are very important for your patent application since they define the scope of protection of your patent. You should draft the claims very precisely; all technical features to be protected must be exactly specified in the claims.
The documents must be in the German language. If the application is filed in English or French, the translation must be subsequently submitted within twelve months from the date of filing, but not later than 15 months from the priority date. If the application is filed in another foreign language, the translation must be subsequently submitted within three months from the date of filing.
Please make sure that you pay the application fee in due time (within three months from the date of filing), otherwise the application will be deemed withdrawn.
Where can you file a patent application?
Please forward the application to the German Patent and Trade Mark Office in Munich. You can also hand in your application in person at the DPMA offices in Munich, Jena and Berlin. Some patent information centres (Patentinformationszentren) accept patent applications and transmit them to the DPMA.
You can file a patent application online at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Online filing requires an enhanced signature card and the corresponding card reader. For suppliers of signature cards please go to Bundesnetzagentur.
You need the DPMAdirekt application software for drawing up and validating the application documents.
You can also use this system to file European patent applications (transmittal to the EPO) or international patent applications (transmittal to WIPO) at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
The date of filing – an important date
The date on which your application is received is deemed to be the date of filing – an immensely important date. It determines, among others, that later filed applications by competitors, relating to the same or a similar invention, will not lead to a patent. At the same time, the filing date is the priority date of your future patent which is relevant for subsequent filings and patent protection abroad.