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Lawyers Hannover
Attorneys at law
Patent AttorneYs
Trademark Attorneys
Design Attorneys


Georgstr. 48
30159 Hannover

Tel +49.511/357356-0
Fax +49.511/357356-29


Lawyers Munich

Landshuter Allee 8-10
80637 Munich

Tel.: +49.89.2500790-50
Fax: +49.89.2500790-59


Lawyers Vienna

Trauttmansdorffgasse 8
1130 Vienna

Tel.: +43.1.8761517
Fax: +49.511.357356-29



Industrial Property Law/ Intellectual Property Law - horak Lawyers/ Patent Attorneys, Hannover/ Munich (Germany)

Inventions and ideas regarding new products, techniques, or services are an irreplaceable capital for every company. Whoever has something particular to offer, has a considerable advantage in front of the competitors.

This competitive edge can be ensured by means of industrial property rights. An industrial property right assures a kind of monopoly to the holder: this latter has the possibility to dispose of his product or technique, independently, for a fixed period of time. This usually means that he can freely put his idea on the market, solely and profitably. Different type of protective rights can be applied, respectively for products, ideas or services:

Patent law, patent application

Patents can only be granted on "patentable" inventions. This applies to innovations which have "technical peculiarity" and are "commercially adaptable". They must also regard something new and unique in the world. Finally, the innovation must be the result of an inventive activity. The evident “technical solution” of a problem is not enough. All things considered, is always recommendable to discuss with a patent attorney what is considered “patentable” and if necessary, let your invention being examined by an expert, for example, at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

Utility Model law, utility model application

A utility model may be registered for all technical inventions (except for methods or techniques), which may also be patented. The same protection requirements that need to be applied to a patent, are used in a utility model procedure. Differences between the two: utility models need a faster and less expensive protection, that lasts less than a patent´s protection.

Trademark law, trademark application

What can be protected as a trademark? Words, letters sequences, numbers, illustrations, logos, colors, sound signs, sequence of tones etc. By entering the trademark register, the holder acquires the sole right to use the trademark for the protected goods or services. The application must be accompanied by a list of the goods and services, for which protection is required. In addition to national trademarks, also the European and international registered trademarks are considered valid in Germany. Protected trademark shall be provided with the registration note ®.

Design law (Industrial Design)

Registered designs protect the coloring and the shaping of almost all industrial or artisan products, such as clothing, furniture, fabrics, or graphic objects. They are protective rights that give the owner the right to use the respective aesthetic outward appearance commercially.




Utility Model


Registered Design

Variety Protection


Technical innovations

Technical innovations (except relating proceedings)

Trademarks for goods and services

Design of plane or three-dimensional objects

Variety of plants/ variety name

Protection´s Requirements:



Graphically representable


New, homogeny, stable, distinguishable


Over the state of inventive activity

Not result of a state of inventive step

Not a mere description of goods or services

Two or three-dimensional form of appearance of a product




Commercially Applicable

Commercially Applicable










Start of the Protection:

From the release of the registration retroactive from the day of application

From the release of the registration retroactive from the day of application

From the release of the registration retroactive from the day of application

From the release of the registration retroactive from the day of application

From the release of the registration retroactive from the day of application


Maximum Term:

20 Years

10 Years

Unlimited, extendible every 10 years

25 Years

25 Years

Maximum Protection Duration:

20 Years

10 Years



25 Years

25 Years

Duration of the registration:

2-5 Years

6-8 Months

2-6 Months

2-6 Months

>1 Year

Width of protection:

++++ (wide)





Other industrial properties

Less common kind of industrial properties are topographies (for example, three-dimensional structures of semiconductors) as well as varieties (for example, cultivations of new plant species, granting of varieties protection as well as varietal release made by the federal agency office).

Intellectual Property Rights in Europe and Internationally (national/international matters in a foreign country)

Industrial property rights are subject to the principle of territoriality; this means that the protection is limited to the state in which the right of protection exists. Over time, registration procedures have been created also at European and international level, and here -in contrast to individual national applications- the protection is valid at the same time in different countries, from the moment of registration.

Use of third parties ‘protective rights

Companies can use their own inventions for their own private purposes.

Penalties in case of legal infringement

Anyone who violates industrial property rights (whoever steals intellectual property) can be fined, if the protection´s rights holder takes action against it. The person who violates, must also declare some relevant information about the sellers/providers of the protected product. This may be severally fined, and the general amount (including legal costs, attorneys, compensation) may be superior to a thousand euro.

Further IP law topics:

  • Trademark application (German trademark application, union trademark application, file european trademark, file IR )
  • Trademark protection (German trademark registration, union trademark, european trademark, IR)
  • Trademark law
  • Trademark infringement (trademark litigation)
  • Patent application (German patent application, European patent application, PCT aaplication)
  • Patent protection
  • Patent search
  • Patent law
  • Patent infringement (patent litigation)
  • Design registration (German design application, european design application, international design application)
  • Design protection
  • Design infringement (design litigation)
  • Design right
  • Utility Model Protection
  • Utility Model Violation
  • Registration of Utility Models
  • Protection of varieties
  • Copyright
  • Copyright protection
  • Power protection
  • License Agreement
  • Intellectual property rights, licenses in insolvency
  • Specialist attorney
  • Patent Attorney

Please see also German IP Law

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© German lawyer Michael Horak 2002-2018

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