Frequently asked questions on DPMAdirektPro
Here you will find a selection of answers to frequently asked questions on technical, legal and organisational topics relating to DPMAdirektPro.
If you have a question to which no answer is provided here, please send an e-mail to DPMAdirekt@dpma.de.
May potential state secrets be filed electronically?
Patents, utility models and international applications (PCT applications) from certain fields of technology, such as weapons technology and nuclear energy, may constitute state secrets. Such applications must not be filed electronically. Detailed information on the protection of secrecy is available in an pdf-Datei information leaflet (in German).
How is the amount of the filing fee for the entry into the national phase calculated?
The amount of the national filing fee of an international application (Art. III para. 4(2), first sentence, Act on International Patent Conventions) – also for electronic filing via DPMAdirekt - is determined by the schedule of fees referred to by Section 2(1) of the Patent Costs Act (Patentkostengesetz). Fee numbers 311 150 (60 euros) and 311 160 (30 euros for the eleventh and each additional claim) apply to the entry into the national phase of a patent application.
How to create a text-based PDF file for DPMAdirektPro?
In order to create text-based PDF files when filing online via DPMAdirekt, you can basically use any program that creates PDF files compatible with the Adobe Portable Document Format, version 1.4 (Acrobat version 5 or higher).
Besides Adobe® Acrobat, there are many other software products that can create PDF files.
Your program may need to be specifically adjusted to the required format in order to embed all fonts.
Some options for PDF creation and setting programs we have collected in a quick guide for you.
The German Patent and Trade Mark Office can only accept such documents that are compatible with Annex F of the Administrative Instructions of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. You can find the full text of Annex F on the WIPO website.
Rules for PDF files pursuant to Annex F
- The PDF file must be compatible with Adobe PDF version 1.4.
- The text in the PDF file must be unencrypted.
- The PDF file must not contain any embedded OLE objects.
- The fonts used in the PDF file must be embedded.
- The paper format must correspond to the dimensions of DIN A4.
In addition to the rules for PDF files pursuant to Annex F, the following aspects need to be taken into consideration:
- The PDF file must not be copy-protected.
- The PDF file must not contain any hidden content.
- PDF files created with a scanner generally do not meet the rules for text-based PDF files.
Where can I get a qualified signature card and the corresponding card reader?
To help you search for possible signature card providers, the European Union provides the online tool "Trusted List Browser". Please note that only cards of German providers can be used at present. As the procedures for ordering a signature card and the corresponding card reader are different depending on the provider, we recommend that you allow at least two weeks for getting the signature card and the corresponding card reader.
Can I also use the epoline card reader?
Yes, the epoline card reader (Gemplus USB Smart Card Reader) can also be used for DPMAdirektPro. In rare cases, the signature card might not be recognised immediately. In such a case, please remove the signature card from the card reader and reinsert it.
Does DPMAdirektPro also work with the epoline card?
Transactions can also be signed using the EPO online services smart card (epoline card) of a person authorised to sign.
Who may apply the signature to an electronic application by using a signature card?
In this context, a distinction must be made as to whether the application is filed on one' s own behalf or on behalf of another party.
On one' s own behalf: The signature may be applied by the applicant himself/herself or by authorised staff. The provisions on representation in accordance with the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) and the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch) must be observed.
On behalf of a another party (in particular by a law firm or patent law firm on behalf of a third party): The signature may only be applied by a lawyer or patent attorney but not by other members of staff of the law firm pursuant to the Act on Legal Counselling (Rechtsdienstleistungsgesetz) applicable in Germany. Otherwise, the DPMA requires that a handwritten signature of the lawyer/patent attorney authorised to represent be furnished subsequently.
However, if the application form has already been signed with the signature card (smart card) of the lawyer/patent attorney authorised to represent using the epoline software, it may be sent off subsequently by other members of staff of the law firm.
Can card readers with integrated keyboard also be used?
Qualified signature cards:
DPMAdirektPro supports the integrated numeric keypad. After the signature card has been selected, the selection has to be confirmed clicking “OK”. The signature PIN can then be entered using the keypad of the card reader, and the PIN entered has to be confirmed by pressing the green OK button of the card reader).
After the signature card has been selected, the selection has to be confirmed by clicking
"OK". A request to enter the PIN is displayed. The PIN has to be entered using the PC or screen keyboard and to be confirmed by clicking the "ENTER" key. The keypad of the card reader is deactivated.
Is the DPMAdirektPro software also available for Macintosh computers?
No, the DPMAdirektPro software currently runs exclusively under all current Windows versions (including Windows Server).
Can I receive mail from the DPMA electronically?
Yes, to receive mail from the DPMA electronically, you can use the service DPMAdirektPro as an additional option in the program DPMAdirektPro. To use this service, an electronic request must be submitted in the program DPMAdirektPro in the relevant assistant (blue man icon).
This service includes receiving documents from the DPMA electronically and makes it possible to receive all mail from the DPMA electronically (as paperless mail) with respect to the selected file numbers. The electronic mail is collected and moved to the user’s virtual mailbox (determined by the user’s software certificate in DPMAdirektPro) once per night. When DPMAdirektPro is started, it automatically contacts the DPMA’s document server to receive the documents stored there and send them to the Inbox.
How do I have documents concerning my existing case files sent electronically?
The type of sending an applicant’s existing case files is not changed automatically to electronic transfer. The electronic transfer has to be requested separately for a file number or a list of file numbers in the assistant (see also the user manual on our Downloads site (in German)).
What happens if I do not or cannot download the documents electronically?
If you do not download your electronic documents from the server of the DPMA within a period of currently seven days (for whatever reason), the documents will automatically be sent by post to the address indicated during the registration process.
When do the time limits start to run if documents are received electronically?
As with paper-based document sending, there are two scenarios:
1. Documents without an acknowledgement of receipt: the date the documents are made available on our server (usually, once per night), e.g. on June 2nd
2. Documents with an acknowledgement of receipt: the date of receipt indicated on the acknowledgement of receipt, e.g. on June 4th
If, due to failure to download electronic documents, the documents are sent by post after seven days, the following time limits apply:
1. Documents without an acknowledgement of receipt: the date the documents are initially made available, e.g. on June 2nd
2. Documents with an acknowledgement of receipt: the date of receipt, e.g. on June 11th.
After updating the anti-virus software, the sending and receiving process of DPMAdirektPro may possibly be blocked. Sometimes, DPMAdirektPro will even be terminated without a notice. Then you may not be able to restart the service. Due to the increasing spread of ransomware (extortion Trojans, crypto Trojans or crypto viruses), anti-virus programs respond with ever higher sensitivity to encrypted data and block them. However, encryption of data is a must for DPMAdirekt and therefore an integral part of the software.
In such a case, please configure your anti-virus software in a way that the program files "DPMADirektPro.exe” and "javaw.exe" will not be blocked.
Last updated: 9 June 2020