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The patent landscape in Bavaria and Munich


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Munich – Europe's “patent capital”

Protecting ideas and inventions and thus promoting economic growth: That is what patent offices are all about. High-tech companies in particular rely heavily on patent protection.

Munich is home to the headquarters of the European Patent Office (EPO), the German Federal Patent Court, a division of Europe's Unified Patent Court, the patent database operated by the Chamber of Patent Attorneys, the German Patent and Trademark Office, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property (MPI) and an array of patent attorneys and patent service providers. It is no coincidence that the city is regarded as the “patent capital of Europe”.

Munich is also the foremost location for the European Patent Organization (EPO), boasting around 3,800 staff plus the organization's head office. Other offices are based in The Hague, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels. According to the German Chamber of Patent Attorneys, roughly 1,500 patent attorneys are currently licensed to operate in Munich, alongside more than 20 patent law firms. These legal professionals are flanked by a large number of service providers, most of whom conduct research and engage in necessary preparatory work.

The “Patents in Bavaria 2016/2017” report published by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) states that more than 13,000 patent applications were registered in Bavaria in 2015, about 40 percent of which came from the Munich and Upper Bavaria region.

European Patent Organization (EPO)

In 1973, the European Patent Organization (EPO) was established on the legal basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPO is a supranational authority whose members are not identical to the members of the EU. What is known as the “Munich Convention” has since been ratified by 38 countries. Even after its withdrawal from the EU, the United Kingdom will remain party to the EPO.

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Origins and development of the Unified Patent Court

In July 2012, 25 EU member states agreed on Paris as the seat of the future United Patent Court (UPC-CFI). One division will be set up in Munich, where the topics of mechanical engineering, lighting, heating, weapons and blasting will be dealt with. The London chamber focuses on human necessities, chemicals and metallurgy. More information about the member states of the Unified Patent Court is available on this platform. An (English-language) information brochure about the Unified Patent Court can be downloaded.

The road to a unified EU patent

The European Patent Office (also EPO) in Munich will also be in charge of the long-awaited unified EU patent. The implementation of these decisions will bring the vision of the unified patent into reality for member states within the framework of “enhanced collaboration”. Accelerated validation and less bureaucracy will in the future save patent applications in Europe a great deal of time and money. At the same time, the new Unified Patent Court will also create a climate of greater legal certainty.

Harmonized patent/EU patent – Latest information