Apply a patent in Germany: requirements, procedure + information

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To protect your business idea, you have the option of applying for a patent. The patent is one of the best-known industrial property rights in Germany. Registration takes place at the DPMA.  You can also apply for a patent internationally and protect your business idea from being copied. An experienced patent attorney will support you.


  1. What is patent protection?
  2. Documents required to apply for a patent
  3. Applying for a patent: criteria for patent protection
  4. Apply for a patent in Germany
  5. International patent application begins with the DPMA
  6. WIPANO funding: register a patent and save 50%
  7. Patent Office: Links and Addresses

1. What is patent protection?

The best-known industrial property right for invention that is the focus of your business idea is certainly the patent.

When you apply for a patent, the patent protects a technical invention for a period of up to 20 years. During this time, the patent owner enjoys patent protection and receives an exclusive right to exploit his invention, which he has registered as a patent.

apply a patent in Germany

2. Documents required to apply for a patent

If you would like to apply for a patent for an invention as part of your business idea, a detailed examination by the patent office is required when applying for a patent. You have to prepare extensive documents in order to apply for a patent.

Among other things, the following documents are required in order to apply for your patent:

  • A technical description of your business idea
  • Patent claims (scope of protection of your patent)
  • Drawings of your idea (if necessary)
  • a summary of your business idea (no longer than 1,500 characters) as well
  • naming your idea as the inventor.

It should be mentioned that the abstract and the details of the inventor for your invention can still be submitted within 15 months from the date on which you applied for the patent.

Patent office requires clear wording

The patent claims are particularly important for your patent application because they determine the scope of protection of your business idea. So formulate the claims of the patent very precisely. In particular, the technical features of your invention to be protected should be listed completely and exactly in the claims when you apply for your patent.


Do you need help with registering your patent? Make use of a patent attorney from our network.

Apply for a patent now

3. Applying for a patent: criteria for patent protection

The following criteria must be met when applying for a patent in order to justify patent protection:

  • Explain the novelty of the invention and the business idea to the patent office
    A patent on an invention fulfills the “novelty” criterion if it is not yet known at the time of the patent application. The invention must therefore not belong to the known state of the art at the time of the patent application Technology can include an invention through written or oral descriptions, such as a publication in books, magazines, other patents or lectures. Even use or exhibition that has already taken place prevents patent protection. If this is not the case, the patent corresponds to the criterion “novelty” and patent protection can be guaranteed.
  • Inventive step the Patent Office define
    If you register your patent, the criterion of “inventive step” is met if the invention for the skilled worker in an obvious manner from the prior art (everything that has been made available to the public prior to the date of the patent application Only then is there a possibility of patent protection.
  • Industrial applicability of the invention for the patent office
    An idea fulfills the criterion “industrial applicability” if it can be used in any field. Applicability concerns the practical exploitation of the invention as part of a business idea. Inventions are excluded from patent applications which do not work, cannot be implemented or whose implementation does not bring products to market.
apply a patent in Germany

4. Apply for a patent in Germany

In Germany, the patent application takes place at the German Patent and Trademark Office – DPMA for short in Munich. You can also register your patent in person at the Munich, Berlin or Jena offices. There you submit the application for the patent with all documents. Here you will find the contact to the patent office.

When you apply for the patent, one-time fees and costs for an examination order of the patent application of € 350 are due in addition to any costs for legal advice. After the successful patent application, annual fees for the patent are to be paid until the patent protection expires after 20 years. These increase gradually over the years following the patent application. For example, in the sixth year, a fee of € 130 is due. In the year 20 the fee is even € 1,940 for the patent application. Fees for the patent must be paid unsolicited, otherwise the patent protection may expire.

Electronic patent application at the patent office

You also have the option of filing your patent application electronically at the German Patent Office. To do this, however, you need a signature card with an associated card reader.

In addition, the DPMAdirekt application software is required to create the documents for the patent application. The  free software  can be downloaded on the Patent Office website.

In this way, a European or international patent application can also be submitted to the patent office.

Apply for a patent with the patent application

If you would like to apply for a patent in Germany, you must do so with the application for a patent. An experienced patent attorney will be happy to assist you. The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) will then examine your application.

Apply for a patent now

5. International patent application begins with the DPMA

If the patent is also to be protected in other countries, a corresponding application must be made to the patent offices of the respective countries. Since this is time-consuming, expensive and cumbersome, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) created the possibility of achieving the effect of a national application in all PCT contracting states with a single application. Therefore, international patent applications can be submitted to the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA). 

It is also important to know that the PCT procedure begins with what is known as an international phase and only then moves on to the national phase.

Register a patent correctly: ask an expert!

Not only the examination but also the registration of a patent can be a highly complex process. You should not make any formal mistakes.

So that you are on the safe side right from the start, it is therefore advisable to consult a patent attorney from the start. We at Für-Grü have a network of experts and help you  to find the right patent attorney free of charge  .

WIPANO funding: Register a patent and save 50%

A technical innovation must be protected. However, many founders often cannot afford the expensive registration process at the patent office. Since 2016, the BMWi has therefore offered companies the opportunity to apply for funding for patent applications: WIPANO.

If the inventor receives a positive funding decision, the entire patent application process is financially supported with 50% of the cost – including the research and consulting costs by a patent attorney. Find out more about funding opportunities from WIPANO here .

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