Industrial Property Rights
Industrial property rights are national or regional exclusive rights for the protection of inventions, products, methods, services, designs and marks. Industrial property rights grant the exclusive right to their proprietor to manufacture, advertise, sell, use, export, import or otherwise commercialize the protected goods and services.
The most important industrial property rights are patents, trade marks, utility models and registered designs.
Patents and Utility Models
Technical Inventions can be protected by patents and utility models, for instance an electronic circuit, a chemical compound, a drug, a method of manufacture, or a device for controlling machines.
Signs for goods and services can be protected by trade marks, for instance a catchy name for a product or product line such as pharmaceuticals, services, machines, or office products. Registered trade marks are often characterized with ®.
The design of a product can be protected by a (registered) design, for instance the esthetic design of a machine, a medical product, bottles, cutlery, furniture, or headphones.
Obtaining Industrial Property Rights
In order to obtain an industrial property right an official procedure has to be successfully completed. For obtaining a German patent, trade mark, utility model or registered design an application has to be filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office. After fulfilling formal and material requirements, an industrial property right will be granted or registered. The preparation of applications for industrial property rights requires a lot of legal experience since errors can have a large impact on the scope of protection or even result in loss of rights.
Further information can be found in our FAQ on industrial property rights.