A patent is granted for technical inventions which stand out from prior art in the technical field concerned, meaning that they are "new" and based on an "inventive step". 

Prior art includes all oral and written descriptions and every use made available to the public before the date of filing of the patent.

The subject of the patent application is only considered "new" if it has not been made available to the public before the date of filing, whether orally or in writing or in any other manner. A publication of the invention before the date of filing, even by the inventor himself, can be used to argue that the invention does not fulfill the requirement of "novelty." If this is the case, the inventor will no longer be able to obtain a legally valid patent. It is better to act on the principle of "apply first, publish later."

The invention which is the subject of the application must also meet another requirement for protection - "inventive step," meaning that it must exhibit a sufficient difference from prior art.

An invention that is the subject of a patent application is examined by the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) to determine whether it meets the requirements for protection. If it does, a patent will be granted.

The term of a patent is a maximum of 20 years. In order to maintain the monopoly right conferred by the patent, an annual renewal fee must be paid from the third year of the patent term onwards.

Office Erlangen
Wetterkreuz 3
91058 Erlangen
Tel. ++49 (0) 9131 / 53 36 9 - 0
>  How to find us

Office Nürnberg
Bernhardstraße 10
90431 Nürnberg
Tel. ++49 (0) 911 / 321550-5
>  How to find us