Patent law has been the key area of activity of the patent law firm Dr. Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP right from the beginning. Skilled through our broad range of experience accumulated over many years and accomplished in a wide variety of technical fields, we are confident to provide you with the best service on all patent related issues.
We accompany you from the very beginning, prepare the application documents, help you devise patent strategies, advise you through the examination proceedings and enforce your granted patent against competitors. We represent you before the German Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office as well as the Federal Patent Court and the Federal Supreme Court. Being patent attorneys, we possess a technical or natural science background. In addition, our patent attorneys are not only well trained in German patent law, but also in European and international patent law.
In order to take care of your interests, we work with a broad network of patent attorneys and lawyers worldwide which we may call upon at any time.
What We Do
Our services include
- Advising on issues related to employees' inventions
- Conducting prior art searches
- Preparing and filing patent applications in Germany, with the EPO and worldwide
- Prosecuting patent applications in Germany and through our colleagues worldwide
- Representing our clients in opposition / appeal proceedings before the Federal Patent Court and the European Patent Office
- Searching for and monitoring patents of competitors
- Expert Opinions on validity and infringement (i.e. freedom-to-operate-analyses)
- Evaluation of patents
- Litigation & infringement proceedings
- Cancellation proceedings
The question of what kind of protection strategy to choose is primarily dependent on the nature of the invention and the applicant himself. Not all inventions and not all inventors require the same kind/amount of protection.
In order to devise an optimal protection strategy, the individual situation of the applicant has to be taken into consideration. This includes, for instance, considering the market environment in general, identifying potential markets for the new invention, the type and number of already existent IP rights of the applicant or competitors. It is further recommendable to identify places at which competitors operate production facilities, because even if the applicant does not intend to produce/distribute there himself, it might be of interest to bar the competitor from using the invention there.
Based on the results of these evaluations, we assist you in choosing suitable forms of protection (patent or utility model) as well as the countries and/or regions in which protection should be sought. A possible choice would be to first file a national application, such as a German patent application, and then within the next twelve months extend the application into other countries or regions. For a company which has a Europe-wide business, starting with a European Patent application might be the right decision. Also, for applicants who would like to gain protection of their inventions outside Europe, an international application (PCT) should be considered.
We will be more than happy to discuss a protection strategy tailored to your specific business situation and requirements.
In order to protect an invention from illegal copying by competitors, it is strongly recommendable to file a patent application with the responsible patent office(s) to seek intellectual property protection before the publication of the new product or technology. The patent application can be a German patent or utility model application, a European Patent application or an international patent application, etc.
It is in general not possible to introduce additional information into the application document or to correct errors in the text after the application was filed. Therefore it is of extreme importance to prepare the application documents in a way such that all of the information which is necessary for the implementation of the invention is included.
The proceeding after filing a patent application with the corresponding offices is strictly regulated and a large number of time limits are to be observed. Before a patent is granted, each designated office examines the patentability of the invention in detail. Novelty and inventive step are scrutinized, in order to avoid that an unjustified monopoly is generated by an overhasty examination procedure which might jeopardize the interests of competitors. In most cases, inventions are protected only after the grant of a patent.
The maximum term of a patent amounts to twenty years wherein an annual renewal fee must be paid. As long as the patent examination proceeding has not been completed, a utility model can be "branched off" from the patent application within ten years from the filing date of the latter.
The patent attorneys of Dr. Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP possess comprehensive experience and expertise in the preparation of patent applications. Thus, we are competent to provide the best services in patent prosecution to our clients.
Prior Art Searches
Novelty of a technical invention is a premise for patent protection. Therefore, it is usually strongly recommended to conduct a prior art search before a planned patent application in order to ensure that the invention itself has not already been disclosed.
It can also be very beneficial to have a search performed for the relevant technologies that have already been published even before the development of a new product or a method, so that the immense cost for developing an already known product/process can be avoided. Such prior art search can, thus, reduce the risk of running into a situation, where, after huge investments in a new product development, one only realizes at the market launch that the same technology had already been patented by a competitor.
Finally, there might be circumstances where destroying a disturbing patent of a competitors is of absolute necessity in order to achieve legal security and to keep/regain one’s own freedom of action with regard to business decisions. For this purpose, a search for relevant prior art must be conducted before opposition or revocation proceedings, in order to find documents based upon which the validity of the disturbing patent can be successfully challenged.
By conducting the search and/or analyzing the search report, we are able to provide advice that will help you achieve your business goals.
Even though in most of the cases, the mere presence of an intellectual property right will keep competitors from copying a product, it might still occur that a business rival uses your invention either on purpose or due to the absence of knowledge of your IP right. In those cases, it might become necessary to send a written warning to the competitor or – should he not give in – to launch judicial proceedings in order to secure your own economic interests.
The grant of a patent bestows upon its owner the exclusive right to use the patented invention for the term of the patent. If this exclusive right was infringed by a third party using the invention without consent of the patent proprietor, the latter might be entitled to a cease and desist claim, compensation or similar. In addition,information about the origin of the infringing products can be requested as well as recall and destruction of those products.
The patent law firm Dr. Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP will support you in enforcing your intellectual property rights or in defending your company against patent infringement accusations.
Protect First, Publish Later!
A subject matter, based on which a patent shall be filed, must be new. It is therefore important for the inventor to know that, when his invention is disclosed before the filing date of his patent application, he is, in most of the countries in the world, no longer entitled to any patent on his invention. If the invention still needs to be disclosed to a third party before an application is filed, strict disclosure should be agreed on in writing in order to prevent the IP right from being jeopardized. However, an exception can be made with regard to any conversation regarding the invention between the inventor and our patent attorneys/lawyers since patent attorneys/lawyers have to adhere to the rule of confidentiality due to the nature of their profession at any time.