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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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Semiconductors and Proctecting Them

The structure of a memory chip, of a microchip having a multilayer design or of a processor as a three-dimensional structure is referred to as topography and is applied for at the utility models office of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

Such structures are able to be protected, particularly when they, as ASICs, are the hardware version of a software patent. A topography ("mask-work" in the USA, "integrated circuit topographies" = ICTs in Canada) is only able to be protected when it has characteristic property ("Eigenart"); a comparable qualitative obstacle far-removed from the inventive step of the utility model, without explicitly requiring novelty.

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Companies and trademarks

Slogan. Motto. Promise. The music of expression ... A striking image, a name with a certain ring to it. They make your business distinctive, they characterise it and they advertise your company all by themselves. They can protect your image with a word, a picture, a combination of these two forms or a three-dimensional shape.

When you register a trademark, you as its proprietor, acquire an exclusive right to use it for the protected goods and services and can prohibit others from using it. A mark is initially registered for ten years but this can be extended by ten years at a time as often as you like. Marks can last till the cows come home. They can go on forever.

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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.

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German Utility Models

With a utility model you acquire economically effective protection virtually straight away. The utility model is a protective right for which its content has not been examined. It is derived off ("abzweigen") or applied for and as soon as the formal requirements are met it is entered into the register of the DPMA as a utility model without an examination as to novelty, industrial applicability or inventive step. The secret to use it is to reliably search the prior art. In this way, the risk of a cancellation procedure is minimised and the power enforcing of the utility model is sharpened with respect to entering competition.

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Licences

Give and take ... Sharing brings "economic benefit" ... when licensing agreements are concluded which entitle you to use the IP rights of others (i.e. those who are strong in knowledge grant those who are economically strong the privilege of commercially exploiting IP rights). Both of them benefit.

Licensing agreements can be concluded in relation to patents, utility models, trade marks or designs and even for confidential know-how. The latter must in that case really be confidential, must be contractually defined and must also be "of significance" in the licensed technological field.

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Legal Actions

If your patents, utility models, trademarks and designs are infringed or if you infringe the IP rights of other parties, criminal proceedings are not the first port of call. IP justice proceedings are primarily entrenched in civil law. This relates to the petitioner as well as the defendant.

Allegations of infringement should be defended against and IP rights infringements should be avoided.

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Law on employees' inventions

After completing creative (technical) work it is great to receive financial reward and the inventor is satisfied or very satisfied ... However, if the expectations of the inventor cannot be satisfied, his wishes are confined by the Law on employees' inventions to create a balance of interests between him and the employer.

Pursuant to the German Law on employee's inventions (created in 1957, updated in 2004 and finally in 2009), a creator (inventor) has the right to his own invention.

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Designs

They are shapes, inspiration ... art. By colours, contours, surface structure, decoration and form they appeal to a broad sector of the public. In design circles the presentation is referred to as the "look-and-feel".

The design of a product can work hand in hand with the trade mark and image of your company. They reinforce each other and can be an important asset in competition. Design protection applies in a wide variety of areas. From packaging, fabric and wallpaper samples to vehicle bodies and fittings and furnishings ...

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Opinions, risk evaluations, FTO

Evaluations of trademark similarity from the world of trademarks (German trademarks, European (Community) trademarks and IR marks) in terms of figurative and word components are based on ...

  • an analysis of the results of an implemented trademark search
  • a risk assessment regarding the use of the name as a domain (part of your internet address) and for the application of the name as a trademark
  • clear recommendations of how to proceed.

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