Understanding and Protecting.
Versatile and Precise.
Competencies and Legal Fields.
Industrial-property rights: a special and complex area of law with many facets. We sound out the things that matter in every specific situation, reveal the opportunities and risks, and pursue ambitious, shared goals. With many years of experience and technical and legal expertise, we can achieve and enforce the best protection possible in all fields while warding off third-party claims and drafting agreements that serve the right interests. We represent our clients in dealings with patent authorities. Moreover, if needed, we represent them in civil disputes, such as those involving notice and cease-and-desist letters, and at relevant courts and government authorities, for example for injunctions, infringement lawsuits, or seizures at the border. Find out more below:
Patents offer the best protection possible for technical inventions. In order for a patent to be issued, the object being registered must be new and based on an inventive step, i.e., it cannot be something that would be obvious for a skilled person in light of the prior art. This requirement is assessed by the relevant patent authority in examination proceedings. A utility model may also be the right choice for products when protection is needed fast or if the intention is to use a grace period, to establish a priority right as cost-effectively as possible, or leave the risk of an eligibility assessment to competitors.
We devise patent and utility-model applications in order to ensure ample protection of innovations. We carefully come up with a prudent and effective application strategy together with our clients and consider special authority specifications nationally and internationally. These authorities can include the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) and European Patent Office (EPO) as well as ones outside Europe and, of course, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In keeping with the decided strategy, we conduct examination proceedings for our clients with the relevant authority, perform searches, or produce evaluations assessing the risk of potential IP right violations, in addition to conducting appeals and lawsuits for annulment.
Trademarks are legally protected marks that help distinguish the commercial origins of a company’s goods and services from other companies’ goods and services. The most important requirements for them include the trademark’s distinctiveness. Trademarks can incorporate letter and word combinations, images, or illustrative elements such as logos, for example. Trademark protection begins upon registration.
We analyze ideas for new trademarks, assess trademark eligibility beforehand, and research identical or similar trademarks at an early stage. If relevant, we suggest beneficial changes to the mark. Together with our clients, we develop a logical list of goods and services and organize applications with the relevant authorities within Germany and internationally, including the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Beyond the application procedure, we also offer comprehensive service for trademark portfolios, including monitoring registries for conflicting applications. We represent our clients’ interests in legal action for opposition, cancellation, and violations – including globally.
To protect the outward appearance of a product, there is the option of registering a design. Protection commences upon registration or, for an unregistered Community design, upon first use of a design within the European Union. In either case, the design is required to be novel and to have individual character. The “representations” submitted with an application are crucially important to protect a registered design effectively. They must express the special aspects of the design.
We create effective protection for designs so that the outward appearance of products and ideas remains singular. If desired, our clients receive an advance assessment of a design’s eligibility for registration and research about the existing “pool of design creations” on which decisions about novelty and uniqueness are based. We make suggestions for prudent representations of the design being registered and organize applications with the relevant authorities within Germany and internationally, including the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). In addition, we provide our clients with support for disputed cases of all kinds.
Inventions created by employees in Germany are subject to the country’s Employee Invention Act (ArbnErfG). It governs the transfer of rights to an invention from the employee to his or her employer and defines the rights and obligations that the employee and employer incur from it. Usually, the employer has a right to exploit the invention commercially, while the employee has an entitlement to commensurate compensation.
We support employers and employees with inventions that are eligible for patenting or registering a utility model and with technical innovations that can legally be deemed “suggestions for improvement”. We offer solutions for individual situations as well as extensive compensation models. We design and implement individual processes for handling employee inventions together with our clients. Simultaneously, we advise on and negotiate mutually agreeable compensation agreements between the parties – or represent targeted interests if there is a dispute.
Copyright protects works of literature, science, and art against unauthorized reproduction and distribution. Photographs, computer-program source code, and databases can also enjoy copyright protection. Protection starts upon creation of the work. Importantly, copyright also has heavy practical relevance due to the long duration of the protection it creates. This protection can even be inherited.
We deliver preliminary assessments and prepare appraisals and professional opinions about copyright protection and using copyrighted works. If desired, we enforce rights through the courts and outside courts.
Competition law is about protection against unfair commercial practices. Such practices can occur in the form of misleading statements in advertising, a breach of trade secrets, product imitations, or obstructions of competition, for example.
With our support, clients can prevent, uncover, and investigate violations of competition regulations and, if necessary, defend themselves against them. Acting in our clients’ interests, we identify if planned actions are allowed under competition law and ensure legal protection for the envisaged presentation, publicity, or marketing of products and/or brands. In the event of disputes with competitors, we assess any alleged violation and take legal action against unlawful violations at the relevant authorities and courts, for example with a petition for an injunction.
The legal entitlements to intellectual-property protection can lead to diverse legal relationships and conflicts between inventors, originators of designs and copyrighted works, trademark owners, and other market stakeholders. Clever agreements are often the tool of choice to define these relationships and resolve conflicts.
In connection with utilizing rights for intellectual property, we advise and support our clients with intelligent agreements, for example by drafting and evaluating license agreements, research and development agreements, or trademark-coexistence agreements.