What are the steps of a German patent application?

What are the steps of a German patent application?

  • Patent application

Patent applications for Germany are handled by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA). It is highly recommended to work with a patent attorney to ensure that formal requirements for a patent application are fulfilled. Here is the DPMA application form and a information sheet about the German patent application. If working with MBM ScienceBridge GmbH the patent attorneys are usually selected by us depending on the area of an invention. No costs arise for the inventor.

  • Check for obvious obstacles to patentability („Patentierungshindernisse“)

The DPMA checks the patent application for compliance with formal requirements and for the presence of obvious obstacles to patentability. You can find the description of obstacles to patentability in the information sheet “Merkblatt für Patentanmelder” under Section VII: "What happens after the patent application?" (page 10).

  • Request for examination a patent application

A request for examination of the patent application must be made within 7 years after the patent application. This request starts an in depth examination of the patentability of a patent application. Only after a successful examination can a patent be granted.

  • Publication of a patent application

The patent application is automatically published online 18 months after its filing, regardless of the status of procedure ("Offenlegungsschrift"). The patent application is then searchable for everybody.

  • Grant of a patent

Only after a positive result of the examination on substantive patentability a patent is granted. With the publication of the grant of a patent in the Patent Office Journal (“Patentblatt”) the legal effects of the patent enter into force.

  • Time span for filing an appeal („Einspruchsphase“)

With the publication of the grant of a patent a 3-months time span for filing an appeal begins. During this period everyone can file an appeal against the grant of the patent.  An appeal leads to a re-examination of the lawfulness of the granting.

  • Maintenance of a patent („Patentaufrechterhaltung“)

Starting from the 3rd year, an annual fee to maintain the patent is due. Altogether, a patent can be maintained for a period of 20 years, in special cases (drugs) for a period of 25 years.


Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (www.dpma.de)

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