Research Into Property Rights
When, during the examination of the protectability of a patent by the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), the request for research or examination is filed, research is conducted by the DMPA into possible conflicting printed publications from the prior art. This research is based on comprehensive databases along with the long-term experience of the researcher, and forms the basis of the examination of protectability which may take place. As a result of this a granted patent acquires its high level of legal security, since the public can rely upon the qualified assessment of the granted patent by the DPMA vis-à-vis the previously known prior art.
Nevertheless it is helpful, for the drawing-up of a patent application, to obtain one’s own overview of the prior art in the relevant technical field before the examination of the protectability by the DPMA, in order to direct the focus of the patent application and in particular of the patent claims towards the aspects of the invention which are most likely to be novel and inventive vis-à-vis the prior art. To this end, one’s own knowledge of the relevant market should be drawn upon and where applicable one’s own research performed into existing technical property rights.
During the registration of a utility model, no research is performed by the DPMA. This can be requested separately with a utility model application; this is advisable in order, by this means, to obtain an overview of the relevant prior art and to decide, from this perspective, whether and in what scope action may be taken on the basis of the registered, but unexamined utility model against potential infringers. In addition to, or by way of an alternative, one can also perform one’s own research; however this should take place within the context of drawing up the utility model applications in order to enable this knowledge to be incorporated into these application documents.
In addition, when a trademark or a design patent is registered, no examinations or research are performed into corresponding conflicting property rights, meaning that the applicant should, in this case too, perform his own research prior to application in order to avoid cancellation proceedings by third parties against the registration of his trademark or his utility model.