How do I find a patent

Apply for a patent: requirements, procedure + information sheet

1. What is patent protection?

The best-known industrial property right for invention that is the focus of your business idea is certainly the patent.

When you apply for a patent, the patent protects a technical invention for a period of up to 20 years. During this time, the patent owner enjoys patent protection and receives an exclusive right to exploit his invention, which he has registered as a patent.

2. Documents required to apply for a patent

If you want to apply for a patent for an invention as part of your business idea, a detailed examination by the patent office is required when applying for a patent. You have to prepare extensive documents in order to be able to apply for a patent.


Among other things, the following documents are required in order to apply for your patent:

  • A technical description of your business idea
  • Patent claims (scope of protection of your patent)
  • Drawings of your idea (if necessary)
  • a summary of your business idea (no longer than 1,500 characters) as well
  • naming your idea as the inventor.

It should be mentioned that the abstract and the details of the inventor for your invention can also be submitted within 15 months from the date on which you applied for the patent.

Patent Office requires clear wording

The patent claims are particularly important for your patent application because they determine the scope of protection of your business idea. So formulate the claims of the patent very precisely. In particular, the technical features of your invention that are to be protected should be listed completely and precisely in the claims when you apply for your patent.

Do you need help with registering your patent? Make use of a patent attorney from our network.

Apply for a patent now

3. Apply for a patent: Criteria for patent protection

The following criteria must be met when applying for a patent in order to justify patent protection:

  • Novelty of invention and business ideaexplain to the patent office
    A patent for an invention fulfills the "novelty" criterion if it is not yet known at the time of filing the patent application. The invention must therefore not belong to the known state of the art Descriptions such as a publication in books, magazines, other patents or lectures belong. Any use or exhibition that has already taken place prevents patent protection. If this is not the case, the patent corresponds to the "novelty" criterion and patent protection can be guaranteed.
  • Inventive activitydefine the patent office
    When you apply for your patent, the "inventive step" criterion is met if the invention does not result in an obvious way from the state of the art (everything that was made available to the public before the date of the patent application) to a person skilled in the art. Only then there is the possibility of patent protection.
  • Industrial applicability of the inventionfor the patent office
    An idea fulfills the criterion "industrial applicability" if it can be used in any field. Applicability is about the practical exploitation of the invention in the context of a business idea. Inventions that do not work, cannot be implemented, are excluded from the patent application or the implementation of which does not bring products to market

4. Apply for a patent in Germany

In Germany, the patent application is filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office - or DPMA for short in Munich. You can also register your patent in person at the Munich, Berlin or Jena offices. There you submit the application for the patent with all documents. Here you can find the contact to the patent office.

When you apply for the patent, one-time fees and costs for an examination order of the patent application of € 350 are due in addition to any costs for legal advice. After the successful patent application, annual fees for the patent are to be paid until the patent protection expires after 20 years. These increase gradually over the years after the patent application has been filed. In the sixth year, for example, a fee of € 130 is due. In the year 20 the fee is even € 1,940 for the patent application. Fees for the patent must be paid unsolicited, otherwise the patent protection may expire.

Electronic patent application at the patent office

You also have the option of filing your patent application electronically at the German Patent Office. To do this, however, you need a signature card with an associated card reader.

The DPMAdirekt application software is also required to create the documents for the patent application. You can download the free software from the Patent Office website.

In this way, a European or international patent application can also be submitted to the patent office.

Apply for a patent with the patent application

If you would like to apply for a patent in Germany, you must do so with the application for a patent. An experienced patent attorney will be happy to assist you. The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) will then examine your application.
Apply for a patent now

5. International patent application begins with the DPMA

If the patent is also to be protected in other countries, a corresponding application must be made to the patent offices of the respective countries. Since this is time-consuming, expensive and cumbersome, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) created the possibility of achieving the effect of a national application in all PCT contracting states with a single application. Therefore, international patent applications can be submitted to the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA).

It is also important to know that the PCT procedure begins with a so-called international phase and only then moves on to the national phase.

Register a patent correctly: ask an expert!

Not only the examination but also the registration of a patent can be a highly complex process. You should not make any formal mistakes.

So that you are on the safe side right from the start, it is therefore advisable to consult a patent attorney from the start. We at Für-Grü have a network of experts and help you to find the right patent attorney free of charge.

WIPANO funding: Apply for a patent and save 50%

A technical innovation must be protected. However, many founders often cannot afford the expensive registration process at the patent office. The BMWi has therefore been offering companies the opportunity to apply for funding for patent applications since 2016: WIPANO.

If you as an inventor receive a positive funding decision, the entire patent application process is financially supported with 50% of the cost - including the research and consulting costs by a patent attorney. Find out more about funding opportunities from WIPANO here.

Patent Office: Links and Addresses

Für-Grü provides all business start-ups who want to assert property rights at this point the addresses and links as well as some background information on the subject of patent applications:

DPMA - German Patent and Trademark Office

The DPMA has branches in Munich, Berlin and Jena. The house and postal addresses as well as telephone, fax and email can be found here.
To the website

EPO - European Patent Office

The European Patent Office offers a uniform procedure for filing patents in over 40 European countries.

Erhardtstrasse 27
80469 Munich
Phone: 089 2399 - 0
Fax: 089 2399 - 4560
To the website

WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization

34, chemin des Colombettes
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Phone: +41 22 338 9111
Fax: +41 22 733 5428
To the website

You can also use our leaflet on industrial property rights. It is very good to prepare the interview with a patent attorney.

Author: Für-Grü editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Grü for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Grü, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.