To protect your ideas, different types of intellectual property rights are available. In the following, the most important ones are summarized. We can advise you on which protective right is most suitable for you.
Patents/utility models – protecting your inventions
Patents and utility models are intended to protect technical innovations. To obtain a patent, the invention must in particular be novel and inventive. The invention cannot have been made public before or simply be derived from the state of the art. In the course of the application process, the patent application is examined and the patent granted by the Patent Office if it considers the necessary requirements to be fulfilled. The maximum period of validity of a patent is 20 years from the date of filing.
A utility model differs from a patent in that it has a shorter period of validity (up to 10 years) and in that during the registration procedure, only a state of the art research is carried out. An examination of whether the claimed invention is in fact novel and inventive does not take place. Furthermore, in the case of a utility model, a period of grace can be claimed, so that the claimant’s own publications within a period of six months before the filing date are not regarded as state of the art.
Trademarks – Protecting your identity
Brands are used to distinguish goods and services from other goods or services. Words or logos, but also sounds or product shapes can be protected as trademarks. The validity of a trademark is unlimited in time and must be renewed every ten years.
Designs – Protecting your appearance
Designs protect the external appearance of a product. Designs must be novel and possess an individual character, although these requirements are not examined during the application process. A design may therefore neither be known nor produce the same overall impression as an already publicly available design for the informed user. A grace period of twelve months is possible for own publications. The maximum period of validity is 25 years.