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Study: services offered by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office are among the top administrative services - DPMA pioneer in the strategic development of digital IP procedures

Press release of 02 August 2017

Munich. Four DPMA services among the top 100 administrative services for enterprises: The President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, proudly responded to the current study of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: "The study highlights the great importance of the DPMA for the innovative strength and success of industry", emphasises Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer. The survey ranks patent examination, the grant of patents, trade mark protection and the provision of the patent register among the top services in the field of research and development. In July, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy had published the study under the title "Top 100 Wirtschaft" about the most important and most frequently used administrative services for companies.

The study aims among other things at identifying administrative services which should be digitised urgently in the interest of businesses. Ms Rudloff-Schäffer stresses that today the DPMA is already a pioneer in the field of process-oriented e-government. "For years we have been offering all the services mentioned in the study as almost end-to-end digital services - which are used and valued by thousands of customers", said the President. "For many years the DPMA has resolutely been pressing ahead with its digitisation strategy for the future and sees itself as a public service provider 4.0."

Electronic case file since 2011 - administration 4.0 as a strategic leading theme

Very little paper is handled in the offices of the DPMA today. IP rights, such as patents, utility models and trade marks, are examined, granted and registered with the help of the IT applications, DPMApatente/gebrauchsmuster (since 2011) and DPMAmarken (since 2015), using exclusively electronic case files. However, it is not only the work within the office that is done electronically and seamlessly but the external interfaces to European and international partners also operate digitally. The DPMA makes a special software, DPMAdirektPro, available to its customers, which is easy to integrate into existing processes at companies and law firms. It allows patent, utility model and trade mark applications to be signed digitally, in a legally certain way, on a computer and integrated into the DPMA system. Specifically for individual applicants, the office also provides DPMAdirektWeb, a solely web-based service not requiring a signature, which has met with overwhelming response.

For the other direction - that means the legally certain service of notifications, office actions and decisions of the office to its customers - a pilot phase has started with interested companies and law firms. "The results are so good that it will also be fully operational soon", states Ms Rudloff-Schäffer. In the Design Division of the DPMA, too, preparations are well underway for full electronic file processing.

In the electronic DPMAregister database, the DPMA publishes publications and register data including current legal (procedural) status information regarding patents, utility models, trade marks and registered designs. Within seconds, German, European and international users can conduct online searches for IP applications and granted or registered IP rights in this database. Furthermore, they can inspect case files online and use the DPMAkurier alert service to monitor the technological development within a specific technical field and be kept well-informed by automated e-mail alerts. Users can bring themselves up to speed on the state of the art, worldwide, in the DEPATISnet search system, which provides access to about 100 million digital patent documents.

High acceptance of IT services among customers

The figures speak for themselves: in the past ten years, the proportion of national online patent applications increased from 1.1 per cent (in 2006) to more than 80 per cent (in June 2017). Internally, they are processed 100 per cent digitally. The IT system, DPMApatente/gebrauchsmuster, manages about eight million case files with roughly 50 million documents. DPMAmarken copes with 4.5 million case files with about 24 million documents. Approximately 68 000 patent applications, almost 70 000 trade mark applications and more than 14 000 utility model applications are being added every year. The use of the electronic databases of the DPMA has also been increasing constantly. DEPATISnet received almost 125 million hits from all over the world in the last year alone. More than 2000 staff of the DPMA at all locations use the innovative potential of the electronic system landscape and appreciate its process-oriented, efficient architecture. The active change management of the office?s senior management, which also encouraged internal acceptance during the process of change, was worthwhile.

The DPMA President is glad that the course she has been following is also endorsed by the 2017 innovation indicator of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) and the Federation of German Industries (BDI), which states that there is great digitisation potential in the public administration sector. "We are pleased that we invested early in the digital transformation. Thus, we have long been able to offer our customers from industry comprehensive digital services, which we will expand continuously", emphasises Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer.

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

The DPMA is the federal centre of expertise in the field of IP protection in Germany. With a staff of over 2 500, it is the largest national IP office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world. The staff based at locations in Munich, Jena and Berlin grant patents, register trade marks, utility models and designs, and manage these IP rights. In addition, they provide information on IP rights to the public. For more information on the DPMA, please go to https://presse.dpma.de/english.

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