Depending on the chosen patent strategy or application strategy, a patent application can be filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office or the European Patent Office. In principle, a patent application can also be filed without a patent attorney or attorney at law. However, if you have a budget, you should always consult an expert.
Practice shows that often the core of the invention is not reasonably hit if the assistance of a patent attorney in the formulation of the patent application and in particular in the formulation of the claims is waived. Unfortunately, after the patent application has been filed with the German or European Patent Office, it is no longer possible to make any changes to the content, i.e. not to add anything that has not already been described. In the end, only a patent that has exactly hit the core of the invention can be exploited.
How and where can a German and European patent be applied for and what are the costs of a patent application?
It is possible to file a patent application directly at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) or at the European Patent Office (EPO). You can also fax an application to the Office or file it electronically.
The application should contain patent claims, a description, drawings and a summary. In addition, a request for grant of a patent should be filed. The request should be made using the form available from the DPMA and the EPO.
The application fee for a patent in Germany is currently € 60. A request for examination has to be filed within 7 years and costs € 350. The official fees at the DPMA are very manageable.
The official fees at the European Patent Office are higher. The application fee is approx. 1500,- EUR, the examination request fee is approx. 2200,- EUR.
However, it is strongly recommended to seek the assistance of a patent attorney when applying for a patent. The patent can only be used later if the application has been well prepared and, above all, if the scope of protection has been chosen on a large scale. If the patent is easy to circumvent, no one will be willing to pay a license or buy a patent.
Is a patent worthwhile at all and will the costs eventually pay off?
The official fees are only part of the costs if you decide to commission a patent attorney to prepare the application.
Even after filing the application, the costs of filing the patent application, e.g. filing the examination request, replying to examination notices, and paying the annuities make patents expensive.
Before applying for a patent, you should therefore search the patent office databases to find out whether your invention has already been described and is therefore no longer patentable. However, prior art searches should be distinguished from patent searches in this context.
If the budget is very small, it may be better to consider filing a utility model application.
For SMEs, start-ups that have not filed a patent or utility model in the last 5 years, the support of the BMWi: WIPANO could be interesting.
If you would like to file a patent application, we will be happy to assist you.
We look forward to hearing from you!