The protection granted by a German intellectual property right (patent or utility model) is confined to the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. Export-oriented companies generally have an interest in arranging additional protection for their inventions in foreign markets that are of interest to them.


Depending on the identity and number of countries in which protection is required, it is possible to file national intellectual property right applications, or a European or international patent application (PCT).

In the most important industrialized countries, the applicant for or proprietor of a German intellectual property right is allowed a period of 12 months (priority period) to make corresponding applications abroad, calculated from the date of filing of the first German application. The priority period makes it possible to obtain a preliminary opinion from the German Patent Office on the protectability of the invention that is the subject of the application before making any applications abroad, and thus to assess the prospects of their success.

By using all the opportunities provided by procedural law, the period before a final decision has to be taken as to whether to obtain national patents, and if so where, can be stretched out to a maximum of 30 months from the date of filing of a first German application.

Office Erlangen
Wetterkreuz 3
91058 Erlangen
Tel. ++49 (0) 9131 / 53 36 9 - 0
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Office Nürnberg
Bernhardstraße 10
90431 Nürnberg
Tel. ++49 (0) 911 / 321550-5
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