Referat Technologie und Innovation

Shortly explained

Protected design

This property right protects the design of three dimensional objects or two dimensional designs with a claim to novelty or a particular feature. The maximum protection lasts 25 years. Examples: Patterns and wallpaper patterns, bottle and car shapes.


An invention is a new teaching or solution to a technical problem. It must be novel (novelty), based on an inventive step and commercially applicable (industrial applicability). An application only be converted to a patent or a utility model in Germany, with respect to these conditions.

Utility model (Germany)

In Germany, this property right (as with patent protection) may only be applied to technical inventions (known as “little patent”). These are often property rights with an inventive step which are not so well established and it is not guaranteed, if the patent application will be successful. In contrast to the patent, the utility model has a six month shutoff, which means that it can be registered within six months of its publication. The maximum protection lasts ten years. Examples: Writing implement or safe children’s scissors.


Trade marks identify goods and services. Words, letters, numbers, figures, colours and acoustic signals can all be registered as trade marks. Trade marks differ from other industrial property rights in two important points: They do not have to be novel (expired trademarks can be consistently registered) and they can be extended as desired. Examples: Word sign (Peugeot), graphical sign (Mercedes star).


The patent is an industrial property right and can be applied for a technical invention. The prerequisites for are: global novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. The patent holder received the spatially and temporally limited right to forbid third parties from the use of his invention. In return, he must publish his invention.

The application can be made at authorised patent information centres or at the national patent office. The examination of patentability is only carried out after an examination request is submitted (can be submitted after the application). The maximum protection lasts 20 years. Examples of patents: Wankel Motors or production techniques of nylon.