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Abbildung Deckblatt Patentschrift

Patents and utility models

Patents and utility models are technical industrial property rights for technical developments that are novel in comparison to the prior art, are based on an inventive step, and are industrially applicable. The holder of a patent or utility model can demand that any party that uses the protected invention without authorization for industrial or business purposes cease and desist and pay damages.

The inventive step necessary to obtain protection with a patent or utility model is deemed to be present if the new technological development is set apart from the prior art to such a degree that the proposed solution would not be obvious to a person skilled in the art (the technical field in question) merely on the basis of that person’s expertise.

Patent applications are accepted for various types of items:

  • Products (e.g. technical components, chemical substances)
  • Methods (e.g. processing of tool surfaces, production of fine chemicals)
  • Applications (e.g. novel use of a chemical substance that is already known in itself for the treatment of a disease or medical condition)


By contrast, a utility model can only be granted for products and for the novel use of a chemical substance that is already known in itself to treat a disease or medical condition. Other uses and methods are fundamentally excluded from the protection afforded by a utility model.

Depending on where you wish to protect your invention, you have various options:

  • German patent or utility model application,
  • European patent application,
  • International patent application, and/or
  • National patent application in a country other than Germany, either in Europe or elsewhere.


The formal and subject-specific prerequisites for the granting of a patent are reviewed by the competent authorities. Utility models, by contrast, are reviewed only on a formal basis and are registered without further subject-specific review.

The maximum term of a patent is 20 years from the date of registration. German utility models have a maximum term of ten years from the date of registration.

We offer a range of services in connection with patents and utility models. For information, please see the following page: Services in patent and utility model law.