"European patents shall be granted for any inventions, in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application." (Article 52 (1) EPC)

Patents serve to protect technical developments. With a patent application, the inventor or the assignee may claim protection for a technical teaching. The patent attorney then describes the invention, its principles, its functionality and different embodiments as well as the differences with respect to the prior art in the patent application.

In case the examiner of the respective patent office is being convinced that the invention defined in the claims of the patent application is novel and involves an inventive step during prosecution, a patent is granted and published in the following. While prosecution up to the grant of the patent does not involve others besides the applicant and the examiner, the publication of the grant of the European or German patent causes the temporary possibility of filing an opposition, for example by competitors of the applicant.

From the time of the grant of the patent, the owner of the patent has the right of excluding others from using the protected teaching. In addition, the owner may demand damages for infringement or grant licences related to the patent. The maximum period of protection is 20 years starting with the filing date.

RHP provides legal advise to clients in all matters of prosecution, maintenance, defense, attack and infringement of national, European and international patents.


Conditions of protection:  Technical invention, novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability

Exceptions: For example discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, aesthetic creations, business methods, software "as such"; plant or animal varieties; methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and diagnostic methods practised on the human or animal body

Applicant: Inventor or assignee

Possible countries: Worldwide

For Germany: German patents; European patents; international applications

Priority deadline:  1 year

Grace period: Only in the USA: 1 year

Grant: Formal and substantive examination

Legal remedies: Opposition and invalidity procedure

Protection: Against any use, as for example producing, importing, owning, offering and placing on the market

Maximum lifetime: 20 years from the filing date