Patents protect new technical inventions. They confer to their owners a
territorial (monopoly) right. Patents allow to derive economic benefits from inventions. The patent owner alone is entitled to exploit the invention. He can prohibit an unauthorised commercial use of
the patented invention.
The publication of his invention can serve as a standard for other inventors
and as a basis for further developments in the relevant field of technology.
Patents play an important role in business decision-making processes. The
patent portfolio of a company showcases its innovative potential and economic capacity. Patents show strategies and development trends. They are an important factor in the evaluation of companies.
Filing an invention at the German Patent and Trademark Office does not
automatically create a patent. The invention will only be patented after a legally-prescribed procedure has been conducted and concluded with a positive result. The exclusive right of use and the
right to prevent others from using the invention come into effect with the grant of the patent.
A granted patent has a (retroactive) effect from the date of filing for a
maximum period of 20 years. Special provisions apply to inventions in the field of pharmaceuticals and plant protection products, for which supplementary protection certificates can be granted under
certain circumstances that extend protection for up to 5 years beyond the maximum term of the patent.
European and International Applications are possible.
Under § 1 Patentgesetz (Patent Law), there are three criteria for
inventive step and
No technical inventions and therefore not patentable are:
schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business and
programs for computers and presentation of information
Furthermore, patents are not granted in respect of:
inventions contrary to public policy or morality
animal and plant varieties.
Under certain circumstances, patents are available for inventions in the field
of microbiology and biotechnology and Computer programs.
Although programs for computers and the presentation of information „as such” are not patentable, inventions may be patented that require a computer. So-called „computer implemented
inventions” must be based on technical considerations and solve a technical problem.
Programs for computers are only patentable if the program requires a new and
inventive hardware of the computer system.
In addition, computer implemented inventions may have a technical character if
the used technical means (computer system) are not new.
Technical inventions may be applied for as patents
- for Germany
- european for 38 states or
- international for 152
- German Patent and Trademark Office or
- European Patent Office.