Innovations are your advantage
Patents protect technical inventions for a maximum duration of 20 years. In layman's terms: an invention is technical, if the inventor is typically expected to be an engineer or scientist. Thus, business- or game-related inventions, economic concepts or a linguistic speech recognition algorithm are not inventions capable of attaining patent protection.
In order for an invention to be protected by a patent it must be also be novel and involve an inventive step, in other words it must differ sufficiently from prior art. Prior art includes any written or oral description, usage or any other means of access to the invention by the public. The relevant prior art is searched by the patent offices and opposed to the applicant.
After a patent has been granted in Germany, it can be challenged by third parties by opposing the patent within nine months of granting of the patent. After the opposition period has lapsed, an nullity action may be brought before the Federal Patent Court. Many foreign legal systems provide comparable means of challenging patents
We provide consulting on whether a patent application is promising based on the known prior art, and we can also draft the patent application. We can also prepare the patent text directly in English, which is often helpful if the applicant is part of an international team. We then, in close cooperation with the applicant, represent the applicant in the grant procedure before the German and European Patent Office. Our fellow patent attorneys abroad are carefully hand-selected by us, ensuring any foreign patent applications are diligently represented outside of Europe.
We also assume the responsibilities of administration and renewal of your patents, offer support in case your patents are challenged or when actively challenging competitor patents, and also provide consulting concerning any questions surrounding patent infringement. Moreover, we also provide analysis of your patent portfolios or of others and prepare an assessment concerning various questions such as infringement, validity or due diligence.
The face of your company.read more
Trademarks are marks used to distinguish goods or services of a company from competing companies. Trademarks can be of various form. Besides word marks and figurative marks (logos), combinations of words and figures, slogans, sound patterns and colours can be protected. Trademarks are protected for 10 years after registration. However, the duration of protection can be extended further by 10 years as many times as desired.
Trademarks are generally only registered if they are not descriptive of the claimed goods and services. Hence, a trademark is supposed to be imaginative and should not merely indicate a characteristic of the goods or services. Trademarks can only be enforced if they are used after the lapse of a multiple-year grace period.
We provide consulting on whether a trademark application is promising and can devise the list of goods and services for which protection is to be claimed. With your close cooperation and consulting we then carry out the registration process before the European trademark office EUIPO. Abroad, we assign carefully select fellow attorneys with your representation. Attaining trademark protection abroad via an international trademark application often times does not require engaging an attorney abroad.
Furthermore, we assume the administration and renewal of your trademarks, provide support in cases of attack on your trademarks or on competitor trademarks and provide consulting concerning any questions surrounding trademark infringement.
It's the first impression that counts..read more
Designs can protect two-dimensional and three-dimensional appearances of products and parts thereof for a maximum duration of 25 years. The appearance is for the most part determined by a combination of shape, surface structure, material, lines, contours and colours.
Designs werden vom Deutschen Patent- und Markenamt und auch von den Patentämtern der meisten anderen Länder ohne Prüfung auf Schutzfähigkeit in ein Register eingetragen.
The German Patent Office and many other Patent Offices in foreign countries enter designs in a registry without examining whether the material requirements, particularly with regard to prior designs, are fulfilled. In order to be able to enforce designs they must be new and have individual character. The requirement of individual character is met if the overall impression the design has on an informed user differs from the overall impression any other known design has on the informed user.
We provide consulting on whether a design application is promising and can devise the application. Generally, this requires high-quality photographs, line drawings or rendered computer drawings. Hand-selected fellow attorneys abroad are trusted with foreign representation.
We also assume the responsibilities of administration and renewal of your designs, offer support in case your designs are challenged or when actively challenging competitor designs and also provide consulting concerning any questions surrounding design infringement.
Not just for small inventions.read more
The Utility Model is often referred to as the "little brother" of the Patent, in large part due to its maximum duration of 10 years, which is half as long as the duration of a Patent. Also, only technical inventions are capable of attaining protection through a Utility Model. In contrast to Patents, methods cannot be protected by a Utility Model.
The requirements for protection are also identical with those for a Patent. Unlike a Patent, the description of a Utility Model or use of the invention by the inventor (or his/her legal successor, such as the employer) does not present prior art to be taken into account. Often times a Utility Model is the only option to effectively protect an invention after it has been unintentionally made public.
During the registration process the German Patent and Trademark Office does not examine the requirements for novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. Therefore protection by a Utility Model is easier, quicker and more cost-effective than protection by a Patent. The examination is retroactively conducted when a Utility Model is to be enforced. Before enforcement the owner should carry out searches in order to evaluate the protectability.
We provide consulting on whether a Utility Model application is promising and possibly more appropriate than a Patent application. We can also devise a Utility Model application for you. We also assume the responsibilities of administration and renewal of your Utility Models, offer support in case your designs are challenged or when actively challenging competitor designs and also provide consulting concerning any questions surrounding Utility Model infringement. We also offer support in conducting any necessary searches and also evaluate the protectability of your Utility Model.
Your employees are your capital..read more
The German Employee Invention Law regulates inventions made by employees, and in particular how rights to an invention are passed by an employee to the employer and which resulting obligations the employee and employer must consider.
Initially, the inventor is entitled to the invention; in the case of multiple inventors the invention is jointly owned. Should the inventor be an employee, then the inventor must report the invention in written form to his/her employer. The employer can either make use of the invention or release the invention to the inventor. Should the employer decide to make use of the invention, he/she generally has to submit a German Patent application. The employee can otherwise freely dispose of the invention and, for example, apply for proprietary rights at one's own expense.
We provide consulting to both employee inventors and employers concerning any questions surrounding the Employee Invention Law. Royalty claims of employees against their employers are particularly common dispute issues. Employers are consulted on how they can feasibly implement the extensive requirements of the Employee Invention Law.
Better off without a disputeThe owners of proprietary rights do not always use their inventions themselves. They can also grant licenses to third parties. Licensing contracts not only regulate licensing fees but also many other aspects in order to avoid conflicts between the contract parties.
We provide consulting on which type of license is most cost-effective for you and draft a licensing contract tailored to your needs.
The firm was founded in 1976 by Dr. Ulrich Ostertag. Today four partners, three trainee patent attornies, one patent engineer and seven paralegals represent our primarily inland and international clients in all aspects of intellectual property.
The majority of our clients are regionally based medium-sized companies; however, we also represent young start-up enterprises and large corporations. Our clients include leaders in the fields of plant and mechanical engineering, medical technology and optics.
Internationally we cooperate with carefully selected law firms to ensure that our clients have an optimum level of support in gaining and maintaining their intellectual property rights abroad. Our primary objective is to offer our clients exceptionally high quality expertise combined with solutions tailor-made to suit their requirements. We set very high standards with regard to the qualification of each and every attorney we instruct and expect first class achievements in both their university education and their professional training.
All of our partners are admitted to practice before the German Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (responsible for community trademarks and registered designs), the German Federal Patent Court and -in patent nullification cases- before the German Federal Court of Justice.
Our premises are located in Stuttgart-Degerloch, a busy business district surrounded by forests and fields overlooking Stuttgart, a metropolis that is home to many world-famous German manufacturers.