Patent law and utility model law stipulate the protection of technical inventions and are essentially regulated in the German Patent Act (PatG) and German Utility Model Act (GebrMG). The issuance of a patent or the registration of a utility model gives the inventor/holder the right to exclusively use the invention and to prohibit anyone else from using it (exclusivity right). This monopoly-like protection of technical teaching requires a registration of the protective right and does not become effective until its entry in the register, after which it is applied retrospectively. The maximum period of protection for a patent is 20 years, both for a German and a European patent, and 10 years for a utility model. In advance or independently from an entry, protection of technical knowledge (technical know-how) can only be ensured through confidentiality.
There are a multitude of traditional companies, medium-sized companies with worldwide market power (hidden champions), and other companies with a great amount of innovation right here in Baden-Württemberg, which could be considered a template for technical research and development. Even these companies, however, continuously require new incentives and developments, which cannot always be produced from their own ranks, to remain competitive in the changing global markets.
At the same time, there are a host of researchers and creative minds attempting to develop and exploit their results in-house within the scope of startup companies or corporations. They usually require investors, cooperation partners, or partners to assist with the exploitation.
When working with patents, utility models, and know-how, fundamental legal advice is indispensable during the registration and licensing of protective rights, and when securing and obtaining know-how, e.g. through confidentiality agreements in advance of a cooperation.
In the case of multi-company cooperations, such as horizontal or vertical development cooperations, strategic alliances, or contract research, particularly research and development agreements, service agreements, technical feasibility agreements, study agreements, or the review of legal aspects of functional specification documents, product requirements documents, user requirement specifications (URS), quality agreements, or technical agreements play an important role.
Following the development activity or directly related to it, licensing agreements, production agreements, especially contract manufacturing agreements, or supply agreements are often implemented.
Particularly within the scope of an international activity or cooperation with large companies, the use of an English contract templates or text is customary and required.
In addition to the contractual and legal aspects, the enforcement of rights in patent law is also playing an increasingly important role in this era of globalization and product piracy. Patent law enables the holders to effectively implement their rights to cease and desist, information, replacement damages, elimination, and e.g. to have counterfeit products seized by customs or implement rights to inspection against violators.
Our expertise in utility model and patent law
Our specialized lawyers are happy to assist you in all legal issues associated with patent law, utility model law, and licensing agreement law. This includes advising and representation in German and in English during contract negotiations, representing of out-of-court interests, or defense against official warnings, and guidance through patent infringement proceedings (particularly through temporary injunctions), as well as the representation of legal interests of parties in appeal proceedings and nullity proceedings before the relevant patent officials and courts. For national or international patent and utility model registrations, filing, search services, and disputes, we can rely on proven cooperation with different patent law offices.