The German patent office doesn’t disappoint with its ‘to the point’ website that gives all the basic information including upcoming annuity dates. Let’s look at the German patent office website. If you are searching for a direct filing German matter, this link takes you to the patent search screen.
The search screen originally defaults to German, but you can easily change that to English with the link provided in the upper right of the webpage. What’s more, the page remembers your language preference for your next visit including English patent profiles (shown later). I typically use the Beginner’s search as I normally search by file number/publication number (i.e., application number).
What I like most about the search criteria for file numbers is the flexibility of the different formats. For example, you don’t need the check digit (the number after the decimal). You can also type in the European (EP) application number or publication number. This is quite handy if you only have one number as search criteria.
Once you’ve entered the search criteria and clicked ‘Start Search’ towards the bottom of the page, if the search was for a single matter, then the results take you directly to the patent profile page. If you have several results, a results listing appears instead. From there, click on the relevant matter, and the given patent profile page displays. Whether you are navigating to the website from the European patent office or searching for a direct German patent, the patent profile displays the same applicable fields.
The patent profile page has a listing of the bibliographic information starting with:
A note on the DE file/application number. When going through the European validation process, most countries use the EP application and publication as their own native application and publication numbers. However, some countries apply a local registration number once validated. Germany is one of those countries. While the German patent office includes the EP numbers, it also lists its own DE file/application number.
The Priority Details Section includes non-Australian cases that provide basic information around this non-Australian priority case. I find this helpful when trying to determine the full size of a family for file opening or docketing purposes. Note that the non-Australian filing date is not considered when determining the renewal date.
The respective DE, EP and PCT application and publication dates are listed along with the Date of publication of grant (grant date). If the matter is an EP validation, the grant date is the grant date of the EP matter.
Regarding date formats, I greatly appreciate the patent office’s format by spelling out the first three letters of the month to avoid ambiguity. They also have a title (in German but a quick webpage translation can alter that to English), applicant, and inventor information.
If applicable, foreign priority and domestic priority are listed. In this example, there was a US provisional in which the PCT matter claimed priority. From there, the applicant selected EP as a national stage case, and eventually the EP case granted with a German validation. Since annuity information is typically what I look for, the Due date field is known as the next renewal date.
Further down the profile, there are links to documents, in this case, EP and PCT documents. This may come in handy when a transferred-in case doesn’t have any documents associated with the files. Lastly, the procedural data section lists some high-level events that occurred during the current life of the patent.
They will also list the lapsed date if the patent has expired for the term or if an annuity was not paid during the grace period. While this website seems to have the basics, I do appreciate that these fields are consistent and within a split second I can identify if an annuity payment is current. This is a life saver when trying to confirm several matters’ annuities are up to date.
Now you know my tips and tricks for navigating the German patent office website! I’m sure there are more. If you know of one I didn’t mention, please let us know or post on our LinkedIn page. If you found this valuable, we have some upcoming webinars that will cover the subject of patenting in different countries around the world. Black Hills IP hopes this content becomes a continuous flow of information that the IP community can rely and act on. We are the leaders in smarter IP data docketing.