Patent application – everything to do with trademark and patent application in Bavaria
Innovations have the potential to revolutionise a market. It is therefore all the more important that developers, be they companies or private individuals, protect their invention comprehensively and apply for a patent. There have been some changes to trademark and patent law in Bavaria since 2020. For example, new ISO standards were established for evaluating a trademark, and a second Patent Law Modernisation Act (2nd PatMOG) is also under development. We summarise the information and changes in this article and explain trademark and patent application in Bavaria.
Bavaria as the front-runner in European patent applications
Bavaria is known for its excellent economic ecosystem, its well-running infrastructure between business and science, and its innovation. The latter is confirmed by the number of patent applications in Bavaria, among other things. According to the annual Patent Index from the European Patent Office (EPO) based in Munich, there were almost 8,000 patent applications in Bavaria in 2019. This puts Bavaria in first place among the German federal states and makes it the most inventive region in Europe. In 2019, companies all over Germany filed more than 25,000 patents with the EPO. As a result, the Federal Republic of Germany is the European leader, and only has to concede to the USA in a worldwide comparison of patent applications.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) reported more than 14,000 patent applications from Bavaria in 2019. The scope of protection of the innovations which a patent application was filed for last year covers the entire Federal Republic of Germany territory. Patents applied for at the EPO are European patents whose validity may extend to up to 38 European countries, including all EU countries plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, San Marino, Turkey, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia.
Changes to trademark and patent law in Bavaria
On average, the trademark accounts for about 46 percent of a company's value. It is therefore important that a brand is evaluated accurately. The new ISO standards from 2020 now allow the evaluation and measurement of a trademark’s value to not only be based on financial factors, but also on marketing aspects and its legal enforceability. The Trademark Modernisation Act (MaMoG) has also been in force in Bavaria since May of this year. Another change for trademark application in Bavaria results from Brexit. From 2021, an existing EU trademark or design will be converted into separate national British trademarks. New trademarks registered by developers in the EU will no longer be effective in the UK after this date and must be registered and paid for separately.
How to apply for a patent?
Anyone wishing to protect their invention or utility model as part of a business idea against use by third parties has the option of filing a patent application. With the DPMA for the scope in the Federal Republic of Germany territory or with the EPO for scope in over 30 European states. A patent protects the innovation for a period of up to 20 years in the respective scope which the patent was applied for. To obtain such patent protection, extensive documentation is required, which is examined in detail by the Patent Office. Anyone wishing to apply for a patent needs the following documents as a prerequisite:
- Technical description of the business idea
- Patent claims (scope of patent protection)
- Drawings of the invention (if necessary)
- An abstract of the business idea (no longer than 1,500 characters)
- Naming the inventor of the idea
The patent office insists on the clear and precise wording of the idea’s patent claims. This is because they define the scope of protection for the business idea. In particular, an invention’s technical features should always be stated very precisely and in full in the claims.
To justify patent protection, these three criteria must be met:
- Novelty: At the time the patent is filed, it must be completely unknown. So not belong to the state of the art. This means that the innovation has not been described anywhere, neither in writing nor orally, and has not been used already anywhere else.
- Inventive step: For the person skilled in the art, the innovation must not result in any way from the state of the art, i.e. everything that was known to the public up to the patent filing date.
- Industrial application: This is about the practical use of the innovation in the context of the business idea. The invention must be capable of working and being used in any field.
Depending on the scope of the patent, developers have the option of applying for a patent with the DPMA or EPO. At the DPMA, the fees for the patent application request for examination are 350 euros. Once a patent has been successfully registered, there are annual costs for the maintenance of the property rights. These increase every year, so in the 20th year of patent protection, for example, they amount to 1,940 euros. Once a company or an individual has applied for a patent, it usually takes between two and a half and three years until it reaches the granting procedure. Patent applications in Bavaria can be filed in person at the offices or electronically. For the latter, a signature card with a corresponding card reader is required. In general, an experienced patent lawyer should always be appointed whether it’s for a patent or trademark application.
How to apply for a trademark?
Trademarks identify a company’s goods and services. In addition to patents, trademarks are also part of intellectual property. A strong trademark is an asset, so it should be protected. Companies can primarily have signs and brand names protected in order to distinguish their own goods or services from those of their competitors. Natural and legal persons, civil law companies and valid representatives such as lawyers and patent lawyers can apply for a trademark. A trademark application is filed with the DPMA under the following conditions:
- The trademark applicant must be named.
- The desired brand must be indicated.
- A list of goods and services must be added.
The list of goods and services must be grouped by class and ascend numerically. The uniform classification database provides the terminology. It is important that a separate application is filed for each trademark application, which may only contain one trademark representation. If a coloured figurative mark is to be protected, all colours must be explicitly stated in writing on the application form. To register a trademark with legal certainty, all elements of a representation must also be clearly recognisable. If the applicant meets all these requirements when applying for a trademark in Bavaria, they can be sure that the granted protective rights fully protect their trademark.
Driving innovation – Bavarian Patent Centre at Bayern Innovativ
Bayern Innovativ GmbH expanded its range of services at the beginning of 2020 with the integration of the Patentzentrum Bayern Start-ups and developers can now get advice, technology support and expertise there from one single source to successfully file a patent application in Bavaria. In addition, start-ups wishing to apply for a patent benefit from the proximity of the experts to the innovation consultants at the Bavarian Patent Centre, which makes it possible to exchange knowledge more efficiently.