German Patent

Field of Application
Technical objects and methods, i.e., machines and parts of machines; chemical products (fertilizers, drugs, etc.); processes for the creation of products, work processes and microbiological processes.

Exclusions (in Germany)
Not patentable are, e.g., designs, business methods and medical healing methods.

Requirements
The invention has to fulfill three essential requirements: it has to be commercially applicable, globally new, and has to be based on an "inventive activity", i.e., it must not obviously emerge from the state of the art from the view of a person skilled in the art.

Filing and Examination
The application has to be filed at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) including a technical description (usually with drawings) as well as the patent claims which define the scope of the protection. A careful drafting of the patent application based on expert knowledge, especially in case of the patent claims, is of major importance in view of a valid and economical patent. After filing the application, no additional technical features must be added to the application. During the granting procedure, the patent office examines the patentability of the inventions, mostly based on prior art searches. After a successful examination procedure the patent will be granted. From that moment on, rights of prohibition can be enforced.

Lifetime
The patent offers a term of protection of not more than 20 years from the date of filing. For maintenance, an annual fee has to be paid from the third year.