Key Duties

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Service provider for the protection of intellectual property

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) sees itself as a service provider in the field of IP protection in Germany, supporting inventors and companies on their journey from the idea to the realisation of innovations. The office has the main duty to grant, register, administer and publish these IP rights:

The DPMA cooperates with partners, authorities and institutions involved in IP protection. Activities in the national and international environments play an important role in raising awareness of matters concerning IP protection among the public and providing information on the growing significance of IP rights in the age of globalisation.
Furthermore, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office has the statutory duty to inform the public about IP rights valid in Germany. The DPMA fulfils this duty, for example, with its publication and search services DPMAregister and DEPATISnet, which are available online.

Stronger focus on duty to provide information

Within the scope of the "Act on Further Duties of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and to Revise the Patent Costs Act" (Gesetz über weitere Aufgaben des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts und zur Änderung des Patentkostengesetzes) and, as of January 2022, pursuant to the new section 26a of the Patent Act (Patentgesetz), further duties were assigned to our office.
Since then, the DPMA has had the statutory mandate to

  • provide the public, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with general information about intellectual property rights and limitations to such rights, and about the exercise and enforcement of such rights.
  • cooperate, in the fulfilment of its tasks, with intellectual property offices in other countries and regions, with the European Patent Office (EPO), with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This cooperation encompasses matters related to copyright. Section 65a of the Trade Mark Act (Markengesetz) remains unaffected.

    These duties include, among others:
    • acting as central coordination and contact partner for regional and national stakeholders in the field of IP rights for SME activities at European level, and participating in the relevant working groups,
    • intensifying awareness-raising activities concerning IP rights and limitations to such rights, as well as concerning the exercise and enforcement of these rights and related support programmes, especially for SMEs, in cooperation with other offices (including EUIPO, EPO and WIPO),
    • developing concepts, information offerings and communication strategies for symposia, seminars and training, especially for SMEs (also in cooperation with third parties),
    • providing support services, especially for SMEs in connection with the implementation of support programmes offered by the EPO, EUIPO and WIPO.

Another important task is to provide information to prospective applicants on aspects to be taken into consideration when filing a patent, utility model, trade mark or design application. Assistance on these matters is available at the office's enquiry units and search rooms as well as at the 17 patent information centres throughout Germany, which are recognised cooperation partners of the DPMA.

It is your task to exploit your intellectual property

The assessment and exploitation of an invention as well as the prosecution of patent infringements do not form part of the functions of the DPMA. In this context persons or companies dealing with the exploitation of inventions may be helpful. The DPMA cannot furnish any information or references for this purpose. But quite often the patent information centres may give advice. In addition thereto, an advisory service for inventors is organised free of charge by the German chamber of patent attorneys (Patentanwaltskammer) at the DPMA in Munich, at the Information and Service Centre in Berlin and at several patent information centres and chambers of commerce.


Last updated: 22 April 2024