Intellectual Property Rights


Patents, - in some countries also - utility models, trade marks, and designs represent an important means for companies in order to strengthen their position with regard to their competitors.

Those intellectual property rights protect different kinds of innovations (technical concepts, names/logos, and aesthetic creations, respectively). In parallel, there exist further industrial property rights such as plant varieties, semiconductor rights, commercial designations and geographical indications of source.

Industrial property rights are absolute rights and are subject to the protection of property according to Art. 14 of the German Constitution. There are similar regulations in the legal systems of other countries.

The scope of protection depends on the original innovative idea of an inventor or other creator (trade marks, designs). In addition, the scope of protection is also affected by the professionalism of the in-house IP counsel or external counsel who generates the industrial property right application.

Seemingly „little“ mistakes – for non-IP specialists - in the wording of a patent claim in a new patent application or in the description of the classes of goods and services for which a new trade mark is to be registered can seriously reduce the scope of protections and thus devaluate the entire right.

A wording such as “the first component is bolted to the second component”, even if originating from the inventor, might be improved by broadening the terminology to “the first component is connected to the second component”, if the prior art known to the author of patent application at the time of filing discloses nothing relevant to this broader meaning.

The lack of professionalism in generating industrial property rights is not acceptable as it may result in the devaluation of the right in question.