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Property rights

National Protection
 

PATENTS AND UTILITY MODELS
 

They protect investments in research and development
 
An invention can be, for example, a product, a process or an apparatus. To be patentable, it must be new, industrially applicable and involve an inventive step.
The owner of a patent has an exclusive right to use his invention for a period of up to 20 years and the owner of an utility model of up to 10 years, respectively. Nobody is authorised to make use of this invention by manufacturing, offering, marketing or importing protected products or using patented methods without prior approval of the respective owner.
Patent and utility model protection can be obtained for inventions in all fields of technology, but not for sole discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, plans, rules and methods for performing mental acts, games, or business activities, e.g. organisational models.
In order to obtain patent or utility model protection for an invention, an application must be filed at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt) comprising detailed description of the invention enabling a skilled person to understand and carry out the invention. Examination for patentability is only performed, if a request for examination is filed within 7 years from the date of application and the fee is paid. Utility models are granted without substantive examination. 
 

trade marks
 

They protect investments in market reputation and marketing
 
Trade marks are signs for goods and services. They are used to distinguish goods and services of a company from those of other companies. Trade marks can be registered as a word or figurative mark, acoustic mark, three-dimensional design, colour, or other signs, insofar as they can be graphically displayed. The duration of trade mark protection is initially ten years, but can be renewed as often as required.
Trade marks are registered provided there are no absolute grounds for refusal. It is not possible to register signs or indications which are merely descriptive of the kind, quality or other properties and features of the goods or services applied for.
With the registration the owner of the trade mark is granted an exclusive right. A trade mark allows the owner to prevent third parties from using identical or similar signs for identical or similar goods or services and claim damages and destruction, if applicable.
Third parties whose rights have an earlier priority may object to the registration within a period of three months following publication. If the opposition is successful, the later trade mark will be cancelled.

 

DesignS
 

They protect investments in design, models and molds
 
Design protection is effective from the date of registration and can be maintained for a period of up to 25 years. Protection can be obtained for shapes, patterns and/or colour configurations of products, e.g. textiles and furniture.
If a design is registered, the owner can prevent third parties from producing, offering, marketing, importing, exporting, or using this design without his prior approval.
The application for registration has to include a photographic or graphical representation of the design. Up to 100 designs may be combined in one application provided that the designs can be classified in at least one common class of goods.
Design protection can only be granted, if the design is new and has an individual character at the time of the application. However, novelty and individual character are not examined during entry of the designs in the register. In fact, the requirements for protection are only evaluated during nullity proceedings which everybody can initiate.

Infringement of rights
 
Any violation of the said protective rights shall be open to the enforcement of claims for damages and injunctive legal action before the specialised courts. Such a specialised court is the Mannheim Regional Court, which is due to its relatively short duration of the procedure preferably selected from international concerns.
 
Die beschriebenen Schutzrechte und Verfahren gelten für das Deutsche Patent- und Markenamt. Analoge
Schutzrechte sind auch international erwerbbar. Wir beraten Sie gerne.

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