German applicants may file their patent application with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office on their own. Legal representation through a patent attorney is not required, but is strongly recommended. However, patent applicants who are not German residents must appoint a patent lawyer to represent them.
Patent and trademark applications can be filed with various offices:
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) in Munich
The Jena Sub-Office
The Technical Information Centre in Berlin (TIZ)
Other Patent Information Centers that do not examine the applications, but instead transmit them to the DPMA
Filing Patents in Germany
An application may be filed either on paper or electronically, and it should contain the name of the applicant, the title of the invention, an expressed request for the grant of a patent, the name of the patent attorney representing the inventor, the signatures of the patent applicant and lawyer and, if applicable, the identification number of the parent patent application or parent patent.
Patent applications may be filed in a language other than German, as long as a translation in German follows within three months.
PCT National Stage in Germany
For an application filed as a PCT National Stage application, the national stage entry deadline is 30 months from the PCT application’s priority date. European regional phase filing automatically includes Germany. Filing a power of attorney is not mandatory, but it is recommended. The national stage application cannot be assigned. Filing more than 10 claims triggers excess claim surcharges.
Recent Patent and Trademark Law Trends in Germany
With respect to patent litigation, German IP attorneys have reported that the number of IP lawsuits has substantially increased in the last few years. In addition to patent procurement, enforcement of patent rights has been on the rise, partly through injunctions. Although 2009 was a relatively quiet year, patent litigation has soared since 2010. Japanese inventors have contributed to this trend, as they are increasingly adopting the approach that patent procurement and enforcement are essential for both successful commercialization of successful inventions.
It is worth noting that German patent litigation business has increasingly been serviced by acclaimed law firm panels, which control a substantial share of the IP market.