Große Ideen brauchen Flügel, müssen sich aber auch auf Fußmärsche gefasst machen. Karl-Heinz Karius

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Alan Kay



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Patents and their filings

Patents, when pending, change the world and will take it a step forward. They are the driving force of future technology and provide nowadays incentive for creative minds ...

Patents protect technical innovations (inventions) and grant their owners a period of privilege for up to 20 years as of the filing date. Thus, the owner obtains an exclusive right for production, selling (marketing), use and importation of items covered by his patented invention.

National Patents

A patent application can be filed in any country of the world. The Paris Convention inter alia provides for the possibility of obtaining protection anywhere in the world on the basis of the right of priority of a first national filing. The protection anywhere enjoys the time rank of the first application.

European Patent

Within the framework of a single examination and grant procedure a European application offers to obtain a patent in almost 40 EPC countries, cf. Art. 2 EPC (European Patent Convention). After the European Patent has been granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) it is validated in selected countries, maintaining the European Patent effective in the selected countries, cf. Art. 65 EPC and London Agreement.

Unitary Patent (European Patent having common or unitary effect)

The aim of this Unitary Patent is to reduce financial effort after the European Patent has been granted. The nationalising processes (= validations) in the individual EPC countries no longer take place. The Unitary Patent replaces the Community Patent which has never come into effect, and it has validity throughout the EU (European Union, common market). Exceptions - as far as presently foreseen - are Spain, Croatia, and Poland, and to a limited degree, Italy. A European Patent with validation is currently the only option in non-EU countries, amongst others, Switzerland/Liechtenstein, Turkey, Norway and Iceland.

The Unitary Patent is subject to two regulations which came into effect on 1 January 2014 or are applicable from the date on which the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) comes into effect.

The UPC will comprise a Court of First Instance, a Court of Appeal and a Registry. The Court of First Instance will be composed of a Central Division (with seat in Paris and two sections in London and Munich) and by several local and regional divisions in the Contracting Member States to the Agreement. The actual implementation is an on-going matter. Presently, the EU countries Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, and Sweden have ratified the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.

During a transition period of six years (subject to extension by a maximum of six further years) the European Patent having common or unitary effect must always be translated into English and also be available in (only) another official language of the EU, so that when a European patent application is filed in German it must also be translated into English after grant. After the transition period is over only the claims of a European Patent are to be translated into English and French (before the European Patent is granted). The whole patent specification will then be translated into other languages by a machine translation.

International (PCT) Patent Applications

An invention can be filed for a large number of countries worldwide using just one such international application. As a rule, after a period of at least 30 months from the filing of the priority application it is required to nationalise the international application in the desired countries (national phases), where the national examinations for national grants are conducted. The patent grant procedure is a matter of the selected states only (currently 148 national options), including regional prosecutions such as EP, OAPI and EA. There is no "international patent".

In the international phase the invention can be examined centrally by the competent IPEA prior to commencing the national phases. The reduction in financial and organizational effort is the great benefit of such an international application.

Real-life examples

Click here for a German publication of a patent application A1

German document A1, the publication of an application that has not yet been examined. A GPTO's search report is identified on the cover sheet.

Click here for a German patent specification C2

German patent specification C2 from year 1989 before Frank Reimund Leonhard has become patent attorney. The patent document has been scanned by the German Office.

Click here for a German patent specification B4

German patent specification B4 from year 2014 in better quality. The patent deals with scalable security in a control interface.

Click here for a European patent specification B2

European patent specification B2 for a Moineau pump. The patent was maintained after opposition proceedings and the B2 patent specification is the patent as amended as compared to the first B1 patent specification.

Click here for a European patent specification B1

European patent specification B1 after the EPC examination. It is granted for those States which are under item (84) on the cover sheet.

Click here for a US Letters Patent B1

US Letters Patent B1. Probably the first page ranking US patent by a Mr Page, Lawrence (Larry) Page.

Click here for a US Letters Patent B2

US Letters Patent B2 recent date for a processing pin to a gemstone which is to be cut or polished.

Click here for a WO publication A2

WO publication A2. A PCT application (an international application), which has been published without search report, is waiting for its national phases. A needle structure arises self-masking with O2 and SF6 working gases and forms a silicon surface which replicates (black) motheyes. This is so-called "black silicon".

Click here for the PCT register

PCT register, the link to the PCT application, as it is performed at the WIPO.


Last updated: 30 September 2014

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