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Information about Patents and Trademarks

In this section we collect frequently asked questions and their answers on patent searches, patentability, patents and trademarks in general, filing strategies and patent exploitation.

If you cannot find the answer to an important question, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Informationen zu Patenten und Marken

Please select one of the questions below:

What is a "Freedom to Operate" research?

Companies need freedom to operate

In a freedom-to-operate (FTO) analysis, companies evaluate whether there are property rights that would stand in the way of the development, manufacture and marketing of a product.

Prohibitive intellectual property rights (such as patents, brands or utility models) may affect either the entire product or the components, production methods, technical details or design and brand elements of the product.

A careful freedom-to-operate research analysis for a specific country always takes into account internationally and regionally submitted patent applications, as national IP rights may result from these applications.

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What is state of the art research?

A prior art search is required:

  • during the examination of a patent application prior to the grant of the patent
  • in the course of opposition proceedings against an already granted patent

The basics of filing a patent application

Within the framework of a state-of-the-art search, information is sought which could have an impact on the novelty or the inventive step of an invention at the time of filing the patent application.

In order to obtain an overview of the state of the art, a patent search can be carried out, since part of the state of the art can be searched particularly well here. In principle, however, prior art does not only include what can be found in the databases of the patent offices, but everything that has ever been published anywhere in the world.

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How does IP exploitation / monetisation work (e.g. patent sale / license)?

Patent Valuation

Patents, trademarks, utility models and design models as industrial intellectual property protection serve primarily to protect the results achieved through investments in research and development from simply being copied. Patents and other intellectual property rights also play an increasingly important role as intangible corporate assets. Patents and patent portfolios are incorporated in the valuation of companies, they are traded and are also used as a bargaining tool or as collateral for acquiring credit.

For successful patent management, the adoption of individually tailored strategies for intellectual property rights and patent applications can be of critical importance. Different priorities can apply depending on the nature of the invention, the industry type and the size of the company. In order to work cost effectively, the patent management department should, in addition to the evaluation of inventions and technologies, perform an ongoing valuation of the intellectual property portfolio. This valuation is concerned both with the monetary value as well as a qualitative evaluation of the intellectual property rights in question.

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