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New record numbers for German trade marks and patents - strong demand for patents from Japan and for registered designs from China

Press release of 2 March 2016

Munich. German patent and trade mark applications reached new record highs last year. In 2015, 66,889 patent applications (+1.4%) were filed. The number of trade mark applications rose to 69,130 - an increase by 3.8%.
"Industrial property rights are of decisive importance for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property against imitators and thus as an economic factor in Germany," said Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer, President of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA), during the presentation of the 2015 annual figures in Munich.

The strong increase by around 11% for patent applications from abroad and international trade marks is striking. Japanese patent applications rose to an all-time high of 6,424 and thus by more than 20%. Interest from China was particularly great in registered designs, which significantly affected the number of designs applied for (4,103; +595.4%).
"The large demand for IP rights from our foreign applicants at the DPMA speaks for the high esteem we are held in worldwide. My colleagues stand for consistently high quality and good service. We continuously work on improving our products and accelerating our procedures. By way of fully electronic processing of the IP procedures for patents, utility models and trade marks, we were able to make the processes more efficient and are well prepared for the future. The constantly growing electronic filing figures confirm us in our course."
More and more customers use the extended options of filing applications and subsequent filings as well as legal remedies electronically in all IP procedures. With more than 75%, the patent area is in the lead.

Annual figures of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office for 2015 in detail:

Patents

In 2015, a total of 66,889 inventions were filed as patent applications with the DPMA. The moderate increase of 1.4% compared to the previous year is due to the greater demand from abroad.

The number of national applications filed from abroad rose by 1,380 compared to 2014 (2015: 13,991). This is a strong increase by 10.9%. 6,443 international patent applications which entered the national phase at the DPMA (DPMA PCT national phase) correspond to a rate of increase of 6.6% compared to the preceding year. For the first time since 2006, Japanese applicants (6,424; +20.3%) topped the list of the top 10 foreign countries of origin, followed by the US applicants (6,147; +1.6%).

National patent applications were filed electronically in about 75% of the cases in 2015. The number of examination requests for patent applications again slightly increased in 2015 (+2.4%). We expect about 44,400 effective examination procedures and other cases, including 25,647 directly filed with the application. 75.2% of all first office actions were already prepared within ten months.

In 2015, 33,483 examination procedures were concluded, of them 14,795 by grant of a patent. This corresponds to a grant rate of 44.2% in relation to the total number of examination procedures concluded in 2015.

The number of opposition proceedings lodged (402) found back to the level before the 2014 patent law revision. As consequence of the opposition period extended to nine months with effect from 1 April 2014 resulting in a lower filing number in 2014, the backlog was further reduced.

The figure for search requests under Section 43 of the German Patent Act (Patentgesetz) and Section 7 of the German Utility Model Act (Gebrauchsmustergesetz) slightly decreased from 16,347 to 16,082; in contrast, the number of search reports increased from 14,781 to 15,088.

In total, 129,591 German patents as well as 470,907 granted European patents with effect for Germany were in force by the end of the past year.

General engineering and automotive engineering were once again the technical fields with the most applications.
Among the German Länder, Bavaria came top again. In 2015, most applications were again filed by companies and individual applicants with a residence or principal place of business in Bavaria (15,341), followed again by Baden-Württemberg (14,220) and North Rhine-Westphalia (6,875). The clear increase in applications from Lower Saxony (+11.1% to 3,485) is noticeably contrary to the slightly downward application trend from other German Länder.

Our statistical data now also show a further analysis:

the leading technology fields (IPC classes) in the individual Länder
Land IPC class National patent applications
Baden-Württemberg B 60 - Vehicles in general

1,920

Bavaria F 16 - Engineering elements or units

2,154

Berlin A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

71

Brandenburg H 01 - Basic electric elements

33

Bremen G 01 - Measuring; testing

16

Hamburg A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

149

Hesse A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

181

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

23

Lower Saxony B 60 - Vehicles in general

687

North Rhine-Westphalia A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

397

Rhineland-Palatinate B 60 - Vehicles in general

71

Saarland F 16 - Engineering elements or units

25

Saxony H 01 - Basic electric elements

91

Saxony-Anhalt H 01 - Basic electric elements

21

Schleswig-Holstein A 61 - Medical or veterinary science; hygiene

55

Thuringia G 02 - Optics

83


In 2015, the three most active companies and institutions in the field of patents were Robert Bosch GmbH, Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG and AGFord Global Technologies, LLC.

Trade marks

69,130 national trade marks were newly applied for in Germany in 2015, 3.8% more than in the year before. Thus, last year's upward trend continued. 46,484 trade marks were entered in the Trade Mark Register in 2015, thus more than 180 new trade marks per working day.

North Rhine-Westphalia again filed most trade mark applications last year (14,794). With 205 applications per 100,000 inhabitants, Hamburg is relatively the most creative German Land. With 93 registrations each, Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH takes first place among the companies and institutions with the most trade mark registrations in 2015, followed by Merck KGaA with 84 registrations and Merz Pharma GmbH & Co. KGaA with 71 registrations.

By the end of last year, 797,223 national trade marks were registered at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.

For international trade marks (international registrations), demand increased even more clearly compared to 2014. 4,528 trade marks, thus 11.4% more than in the year before, were entered at the DPMA in 2015.

In total, the applications for national and international trade marks at the DPMA increased by 4.2% in the year under report.

Use of our electronic filing options are also on the upward trend: 60.0% of the national applications were filed electronically in 2015 (2014: 52.5%).

Registered designs

In 2015, the DPMA received 7,133 single and multiple applications covering 55,219 designs. This means that the number of designs filed decreased by 9.1% in comparison to the preceding year, that of the applications by 1.6%. Contrary to the trend, the number of designs applied for from China increased. While, in 2014, there were only 590 designs, 2015 saw a rise by 595.4% to 4,103.
Here, too, the proportion of electronic filings continues to grow. 74.5% of all applications have been made in this form at the DPMA in the year under report (2014: 66.9%). In 2015, the stock of designs registered at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office amounted to 313,639.

Utility models

For utility models, the application figures decreased by 3.1% to 14,277 compared to the previous year. Similarly to patent applications, the figures from abroad, particularly from Japan and the USA, increased against the trend by 3.4%. A total of 85,180 utility models are registered in Germany.

Use of the electronic filing option is weakest for utility models. For 2015, a proportion of 46.5% was recorded with upward tendency towards year's end.

Sound financial situation of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office

The DPMA's fee income grew again in 2015, namely by 4.2% to 381 million euros. The expenditure amounted to 257.7 million euros (+1.3%). The numbers include any income and expenditure of the Federal Patent Court as well as the pension charges by the DPMA and the Federal Patent Court.

Personnel situation

At the end of 2015, the DPMA had a staff of 2,533 employees in Munich, Jena, Hauzenberg and Berlin. The ratio of female (1,236) to male (1,297) staff was nearly even.

The German Patent and Trademark Office

The DPMA is the national centre of expertise in the field of IP protection in Germany. It is the largest patent and trade mark office in Europe and the fifth largest national patent office in the world.

For more information and statistics for 2015, please go here.

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