IP-Fälle und Artikel

25 years of the “German Patent and Trade Mark Office”

25 years ago, on 01 November 1998, the central industrial property office of Germany was rebranded to “Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt” (DPMA, German Patent and Trade Mark Office) in order to emphasise the increasing importance of the trade mark as an area of the office’s work.

With almost 2,800 staff working at offices in Munich, Jena and Berlin, the DPMA is the largest national patent office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world.

Of course, in addition to patents and trade marks for Germany, the office has many responsibilities of public administration, including utility models and semiconductor topographies, designs, arbitration under the Employee Inventions Act, and exercise of government supervision in the field of copyright including arbitration under the Act on Collective Management Organisations.

Since January 2022, the DPMA also has the statutory mandate to provide the public, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with general information about intellectual property rights, its limitations, as well as exercise and enforcement of these rights. In fulfilment of its tasks, the DPMA cooperates with intellectual property offices in other countries and regions, with the European Patent Office (EPO), with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This cooperation encompasses matters relating to copyright.

History of the DPMA

The office’s history started over 146 years ago. Following the unification of Germany and foundation of the German Empire, the first unified German Patent Act was adopted on 25 May 1877, and the “Kaiserliches Patentamt” (Imperial Patent Office) was established in Berlin on 01 July 1877. As early as 02 July 1877, the first German patent was granted for a “production process for a red ultramarine colour”; the inventor was Johann Zeltner of Nürnberger Ultramarin-Fabrik in Nuremberg.

After World War I, and the end of the monarchy in Germany and foundation of the Weimar Republic on 09 November 1918, the office was renamed “Reichspatentamt” (State Patent Office) in 1919 and stayed in Berlin until 1945. After World War II, the office re-opened as “Deutsches Patentamt” (DPA, German Patent Office) in Munich on 01 October 1949. With the German Reunification on 03 October 1990, the office took over tasks of the Amt für Erfindungs- und Patentwesen (AFEP, Office for Inventions and Patents) of the former German Democratic republic (GDR).

Consequently, the rebranding to “Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt” on 01 November 1998 was another step in a long and eventual history of the office, followed by appointment of the first female president, Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, in 2009, and introduction of the electronic IP case file, launched for patents and utility models on 01 June 2011, for example.

Useful links

German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA): history: dycip.com/dpma-history

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