Germany: Law on Amendments of Patent Law and Other Industrial Property Laws

October 19, 2013

Germany: The Law on Amendments of Patent Law and Other Industrial Property Laws was promulgated by the Federal President in the Federal Gazette on October 24, 2013, and will enter into force in its entirety on April 1, 2014.

The most significant amendments are the following: establishment of electronic file inspection of patent and utility model files at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO); extension of the time limit for filing German translations of applications filed in English or French language; introduction of a preliminary opinion on the patentability to facilitate the search report for German patent applications; making hearings mandatory in examination proceedings at the applicant's request, and holding public oral hearings in opposition proceedings; extension of the period for filing notice of opposition against granted patents; and exclusion from the patentability of animals and plants. The Amendment Law makes procedures more efficient for both applicants and the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (GPTO), and also aims to harmonize the GPTO’s procedures with the practice of the European Patent Office (EPO).