Meaning of Patent Part II

Important steps for the patent application process

How can the application be submitted?

A patent application should be made in writing. All necessary documents and forms for registration can be found online on the website of the German Patent and Trademark Office. The written patent application must be sent to the following address:

German Patent and Trademark Office
80297 Munich

Alternatively, electronic transmission with a so-called signature card, a card reader and the DPMAdirektPro software is also possible. This procedure is particularly useful when different issues are patented frequently. In addition, the documents can be submitted personally to one of the three offices (Jena, Berlin, Munich). All current contact details can be viewed online at any time on the contact page of the German Patent and Trademark Office.

What information must be given when applying for a patent?

To apply for a patent, it is necessary to submit a technical description of the invention, any existing drawings and the desired scope of the patent. It is particularly important that the formulation of all descriptions and information is complete and precise. Especially when filing a patent is not part of day-to-day business, it is advisable for companies to use the services of a patent attorney. They know all the existing claims and can help to apply for the patent in the desired scope.

How does the test procedure work?

After registration and payment of the examination fee, the examination procedure is initiated. There it is checked whether the application meets all the criteria for the grant of a patent. In addition, it is checked whether there is any overlap with patents already applied for, which would prevent the patent from being applied for. In order to save the examination fee for an unsuccessful application, it is advisable to search for existing comparable patents before applying for your own patent.

Attention: It can take 1½ to 3 years from the application to the granting of the patent .

What are the costs of applying for a patent?

The following fees arise from applying for a German patent, among others:

  • 60 euros application fee (for up to 10 patents)
  • 350 euros examination fee per registered patent
  • 70 to 150 euros annual fee from the 3rd to the 20th year of protection

Detailed information on all costs currently incurred by patenting can be found in the DPMA’s overview of fees for patents.

How does a utility model differ from a patent?

In principle, a utility model offers protection similar to that of a patent, but it is much more straightforward and easier to grant. This is due to the fact that when a utility model is registered, there is no detailed examination of the actual, but only the formal patentability of the matter.
This offers a legal uncertainty insofar as it is only in the event of a dispute that a specific check can be made as to whether protection of use, as with a patent, is legitimate. Accordingly, the procedure is simpler, but also significantly more risky from a legal point of view.

What are the advantages of patenting inventions and what strategies can be pursued with it?

The use of patents results in some economic and brand advantages that can lead to market advantages, additional income or a strengthening of the image as a brand . In the following we briefly present the most important advantages and possible uses:

Economic protection of own development investments

According to Wholevehicles, investing in research and development can be worthwhile in order to achieve market advantages through more modern technology. However, these usually very high investments are only worthwhile if not every company can cost-effectively learn the results of this process. The patent protects against this.

Financial compensation for unauthorized use

If, despite patent protection, a technology is used illegally, the patent owner can sometimes claim very high damages in court. In this way, the unauthorized use of your own technology is compensated significantly financially.

Competitive advantages over competitors

On the one hand, patenting certain technologies can prevent competitors from gaining access to a market or a market segment. On the other hand, your own company gains exclusivity and brand status through the so-called blocking patents.

Economic equivalent compared to competing companies

In addition, the competitive advantage can be used in exchange if competitors also have market-relevant patents and both companies have an interest in being able to use the patent of the competing company.

Improvement of your own image

The image improves, among other things, in the sum of the advantages mentioned over end customers and other companies. Exclusive technology, market advantages over competitors and unique products ensure a status as a brand and increase the value of the company. In addition, there is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd with the right patents and to dominate certain market segments.

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