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German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Coordinates: 48°07′55″N 11°35′00″E / 48.13194°N 11.58333°E / 48.13194; 11.58333
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German Patent and Trade Mark Office
Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
Formation1 July 1877 (1877-07-01)
TypeFederal agency
PurposeThe central authority in the field of industrial property protection in Germany
Coordinates48°07′55″N 11°35′00″E / 48.13194°N 11.58333°E / 48.13194; 11.58333
Eva Schewior
Parent organization
Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection
Formerly called
Kaiserliches Patentamt
Deutsches Patentamt

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office (German: Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt; abbreviation: DPMA) is the German national patent office, with headquarters in Munich, and offices in Berlin and Jena. In 2006 it employed 2556 people, of which about 700 were patent examiners.

Function and status[edit]

Premises of the DPMA on Zweibrückenstraße, Munich, next to the headquarters of the European Patent Office (not visible, see image below).[1]
Aerial image of the DPMA at Zweibrückenstraße, comprising the square-shaped and the long reddish building in the upper left part of the image. Right below it is the dark-coloured headquarters of the European Patent Office, above in the background lies the science museum Deutsches Museum on the other side of the river Isar.
Cincinnatistraße branch, Munich.
Cover of the first German patent.
1977 stamp showing the Patent Office from 1877 to 1977. Picture of the new Patent Office building in 1905 on Gitschiner Road

The DPMA is the central authority in the field of intellectual property protection in Germany. Its responsibilities include the granting of patents for the registration of industrial designs, trademarks and designs, as well as for informing the public about existing industrial property rights. Recognised partner of the DPMA is the Patentinformationszentrum (Patent Information Centre), united in the Deutscher Patentinformationszentren e.V (German Patent Information Centres Association).

The legal basis of the German Patent and Trademark Office is § 26 of the Patentgesetz (German Patents Act).


The first unified Patentgesetz (German Patent Act) was adopted on 25 May 1877, which mandated the establishment of an authority tasked with reviewing and awarding patents. On this basis, on 1 July 1877, the Kaiserliche Patentamt (Imperial Patent Office) was founded in Berlin.[2]

The Chairman of the newly established office was Karl Rudolf Jacobi.[3] The first German patent was granted on 1 July 1877 for a "method for producing a red ultramarine colour", invented by Johannes Zeltner.[4] The first trademark registration was on 16 October 1894 for a Berlin lamp producer.

In 1905, the Patent Office moved into premises designed by the architects Solf and Wichards on the corner of Gitschiner Straße and Lindenstraße in Kreuzberg, with a characteristic 243-metre front on the elevated highway.[5][6]

In 1919, the Patent Office was renamed the Reichspatentamt (State Patent Office).

The Nazi anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner laws strangled scientific output and patent applications. Almost as soon as they came into power, the Nazis moved to throw the Jews out of the German Patent Offices, with only a few exceptions for those who had served at the front during World War I or who had lost a parent or son in fighting. “Law Relating to the Admission to the Profession of Patent-agent and Lawyer of 22 April 1933. The Government of the Reich has resolved the following law which is promulgated herewith: Section 1. Patent-agents which are of non-Aryan descent pursuant to the law relating to the reestablishment of the Professional Civil Service of 7 April 1933 may be taken off the roster of patent-agents kept by the Reich Patent Office up to 30 September 1933…”[7]

In 1938, the “Aryanization” of patents was mandated, in that new patents could only be proposed and submitted if sponsored by an Aryan and German citizens, and not by dissidents, foreigners or Jews. Existing patents held by Jews must also be turned over to a German citizen. As one author stated, “Jewish commercial firms and the associated property, as well as wholesale operations and industry that are Jewish because of the degree to which they are under Jewish ownership, can be de-Jewdified [sic]. Important patents and commercial secrets must be transferred to non-Jewish control.”[8]

The Reich Patent Office came under Nazi political party pressure as well. One of Adolf Hitler’s chauffeurs, Anton Loibl, invented the idea of attaching small pieces of glass to the pedals of bicycles, that would reflect the lights of approaching cars. In 1936, word of this invention came to the SS, and they decided to form a partnership with Loibl to market his idea. However, the idea was not all that novel, and a similar safety device had already been applied for as a patent. “But this competitor lacked something very important- the SS as a business partner. His patent application was buried. Loibl’s sailed through, and in 1938 Heinrich Himmler used his supreme authority as head of the German police to pass a new traffic law. This required all German bicycles to be equipped with Loibl’s reflective pedal… in 1938 alone, the SS received a tidy 77,740 reichsmarks from the bicycle pedal proceeds.”[9]

In the last months of the war, many of the technical records of the German Patent Office were widely dispersed throughout Germany to preserve them from the Allied firebombing of Berlin. “One set of copies of the pending 180,000 patent applications were taken into eastern Germany where they were later lost by fire. The technical library of 300,000 volumes and the records of the secret patents were moved to Heringen, near Kassel, and 3,000 valuable reference books were sent through Czechoslovakia to Bavaria. Part of the Trademark records were moved to another building in Berlin where they were lost also by fire. Some of the technical personnel remained at the Patent Office in Berlin, some went to Heringen and others were scattered throughout Germany. The Patent Office building in Berlin was about one-third destroyed by a heavy bombing attack on 5 February 1945. US and British representatives reached Heringen in May 1945 and found some 50 former patent employees at work restoring and re-classifying the patent indexes and examination material. The library and the register of secret patents were located in a potash mine in Heringen. However, the files of the secret applications and patents had been burned upon orders of the German government shortly before the arrival of the US troops… The technical library has been moved from the potash mine in Heringen and is again available to the public. The library is equipped with 12 miles of new metal shelves which provide space for about 500,000 volumes.”[10]

Other attempts to preserve German patents was the re-registration of the patents in other countries. In 1945, it was noted that: “Patents Transferred. That Germany is preparing in other ways to salve what she can is indicated by reports that the flight of capital on a large scale is taking place from Germany to Sweden through the transfer of German patents. The Swedish Patent Office is said to be inundated with registrations of patents on behalf of German individuals, commercial corporations and research organizations. Last year, it is said, 60 per cent of the record total of 10,000 patent registrations were German and the proportion has increased this year. Among those who registered were I.G. Farben, the Steyr-Daimler-Benz automobile manufacturers, the Siemens and A.E.G. Combines. The patents, of course, represent substantial assets."[11]

After the Second World War, the patent office property was seized by the Allied Control Council, including patents, trademarks, and emblems, under Articles II and X of the Allied Control Council Law No. 5, 30 October 1945.[12] Article II of this Act on 31 August 1951 set aside all Allied Control Council Law but in fact this occurred only on 12 September 1990 with the "Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany". Until 1951 the seized patents were used by the Allies technologically and economically.

On 1 October 1949, the Deutsches Patentamt (German Patent Office) moved to premises in the Deutsches Museum in Munich. In 1951 a branch office was opening in the old Reichspatentamt in Berlin. 1959, the Patent Office moved into its own building in Munich.

In 1990, the Office for Amt für Erfindungs- und Patentwesen der DDR (Inventions and Patent Office of the GDR) merged with the Patent Office.

In 1998, an office in Jena was built and the bulk of the Berlin office moved there. The Office has thus now has three locations, Munich, Jena and Berlin. In the same year was a renaming of Deutsche Patentamt to Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), in order to take the importance of brands as a working area of the office into account.[13]

Originally appeals against decisions of the Office were conducted by the internally, however, since 1961 this is done in the Bundespatentgericht (Federal Patent Court).

Since 1978 and the entry into force of the European Patent Convention, the European Patent Office also issues patents effective in Germany, as part of a European patent's "bundle" of national patents.

Presidents of the Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
Name Dates of Presidency
... ...
Kurt Haertel 1963 – 1975[14]
Erich Häusser 1976 – 1995[15]
Norbert Haugg 1995 – 2000[16]
Jürgen Schade 2001 – December 31, 2008[17]
Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer January 1, 2009 – January 2023[17][18][19][20]
Eva Schewior February 2023 –[18][19][20]

Patent applicants[edit]

In 2006, the leaders in terms of numbers of patents at the DPMA were Siemens, with 2501 patents, Bosch, with 2202 patents, DaimlerChrysler with 1626 patents.[21]

Inventors gallery[edit]

In 1984, the DPMA opened an "inventor's gallery", as "an incentive for all innovative forces to express themselves more, and a signal to the insurance companies to promote them long term." It was enlarged in 1987 and again in 1999 and now covers 17 German inventors:[22] Béla Barényi, Gerd Binnig, Ludwig Bölkow, Walter Bruch, Jürgen Dethloff, Artur Fischer, Rudolf Hell, Heinz Lindenmeier, Hermann Oberth, Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain, Oskar-Erich Peter, Hans-Jürgen Quadbeck-Seeger, Ernst Ruska, Hans Sauer, Felix Wankel, Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, Konrad Zuse

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (in German) Durch den Tunnel, Der Spiegel 47/1978, pp. 116-118.
  2. ^ Reichspatentamt, ed. (1927). Das Reichspatentamt 1877-1927: Rückblick auf sein Werden und Wirken. Berlin: Heymann. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  3. ^ "Das Reichs-Patentamt". Provinzial-Correspondenz. 15 (28): 2. 1877-07-11. Archived from the original on 2007-10-28. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  4. ^ DE patent 1, Johannes Zeltner, "Verfahren zur Herstellung einer rothen Ultramarinfarbe", issued 1877-07-01, assigned to Nurnberger Ultramarin-Fabrik 
  5. ^ Otto Sarrazin und Friedrich Schultze, ed. (1905-09-30). "Das neue Dienstgebäude für das Kaiserliche Patentamt in Berlin". Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung. XXV (79): 489–492.
  6. ^ Otto Sarrazin und Friedrich Schultze, ed. (1905-10-30). "Das neue Dienstgebäude für das Kaiserliche Patentamt in Berlin (Schluß)". Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung. XXV (80): 497–499.
  7. ^ Law relating to the admission to the profession of patent agent and lawyer. Gist of the law: Excluding Jews from acting as patent attorneys. Document Number: 2868-PS. Date: 22 April 1933. Reichsgesetzblatt-Page: I.217. Signed by: Hitler, Guertner.
  8. ^ Max Eichler. Du bist sofort im Bilde (Erfurt: J. G. Cramer's Verlag, 1939) pp. 139-142.
  9. ^ Heather Anne Pringle. 2006. The Master Plan: Himmler’s Scholars and the Holocaust. Page 140.
  10. ^ Billings, Victor L. 1950. “Patent System Re-Established for Germany.” Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society. Volume 32, pages 498-499, 502.
  11. ^ MacCormac, John. 1945. “Unscorched Earth Marks Nazis’ Wake: Valuable Industrial Patents in Good Order are Laid to Plan for Third War.” The New York Times. March 10, 1945. Page 3.
  12. ^ Kontrollratsgesetz Nr. 5
  13. ^ Geschichtliches auf den Seiten des DPMA
  14. ^ (in German) Munich's official internet site, Straßenneubenennung Kurt-Haertel-Passage. Consulted on January 28, 2007.
  15. ^ "DPMA | 1971-1985". Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt.
  16. ^ "DPMA | 1986-2000". Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt.
  17. ^ a b (in German) Bundesministerium der Justiz (Federal Ministry of Justice, Germany), Amtsübergabe beim DPMA: Rudloff-Schäffer folgt auf Schade, Press release, Berlin, January 15, 2009. Consulted on January 17, 2009.
  18. ^ a b "Eva Schewior wird neue Präsidentin des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts" [Eva Schewior becomes new President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office]. Bundesministerium der Justiz (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 10 January 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Important notice of 10 January 2023 - Eva Schewior to become new President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office". Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt. DPMA. 10 January 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  20. ^ a b "DPMA bekommt neue Präsidentin" [DPMA gets new president]. beck-aktuell (in German). C.H.Beck. 11 January 2023. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  21. ^ DNHK Markt. 2/2007, S. 22.
  22. ^ "Die Erfindergalerie des Deutschen Patent- und Markenamts".

External links[edit]