Reichspatentamt 1919 - 1945

Friedrich von Specht

Term of office: 1. Mai 1921 - 30. September 1928
The grandson of the famous military officer of the same name, von Specht was born in Kassel on 6 August 1860 and worked as a lawyer in various positions in the judiciary and government agencies before becoming president of the Reichpatentamt. Since the end of the First World War, the number of applications had risen sharply, so Specht ensured that the Office was equipped with the most modern typing, dictating, copying and duplicating machines of the time.
The fiftieth anniversary of the Patent Office was celebrated in 1927 with a large ceremony. Among the numerous well-wishers from home and abroad was the legendary American inventor Thomas A. Edison.

Johannes Eylau

Term of office: 22. Dezember 1928 - 22. Juli 1933
He is said to have lost his office because he took down the swastika flag himself, which the National Socialists had hoisted on the roof of the Reich Patent Office after seizing power on 30 January 1933: Johannes Eylau.

Born on 27 November 1880 in Landsberg an der Warthe, the lawyer was seriously wounded in the First World War. Before becoming President, he headed the Patent Chamber of the Berlin District Court. After the flag action, which his grandson still remembers (see video on the History page), he was transferred to the Reich Ministry of Labour, where he remained until the end of the Second World War.
After 1945, Eylau worked in a senior position at the patent office in Berlin and at the newly founded German Patent Office before becoming Senate President at the Munich Higher Regional Court in 1950. Eylau died in 1970.

Dr. Johannes Harting

Term of office: 28. Juli 1933 - 11. März 1934
Carl August Johannes "Hans" Harting was the first natural scientist to head the Reich Patent Office. Born on 15 February 1868 in Rummelsburg, the physicist worked for Zeiss in Jena, among others, before joining the Patent Office in 1908. After Eylau's forced departure, he became provisional president of the office until the National Socialist rulers filled the post according to their ideas.
Harting returned to Jena after 1945 as chief scientific officer and played a major role in the reconstruction of the Zeiss factories. For this he received the GDR's National Award I. Class. He died in Jena on 21 September 1951.

Georg Klauer

Term of office: 12. März 1934 - 21. April 1945
The Nazi rulers appointed the jurist Georg Emil Klauer as president to succeed Eylau, who had been forcibly transferred, and the interim president Harting. Klauer, born on 9 June 1876 in Berlin, had already worked for the Patent Office from 1910 and had moved to the Reich Ministry of Justice in 1921. His term of office included the momentous Patent Act of 5 May 1936, which, among other things, transferred the responsibility for cancelling utility models from the courts to the Patent Office.
When the threat of bombing became more acute in the last years of the Second World War, the Reich Patent Office, like all other government institutions, had its files and libraries relocated from Berlin. The building on Gitschiner Straße was severely damaged by air raids towards the end of the war. Two years after the collapse of the Nazi regime, Georg Klauer took his own life in Berlin on 6 October 1947.

From 2023, the DPMA will commission comprehensive scientific research on the history of the Patent Office during the National Socialist era and the new beginning after 1945. The results will be published after completion of the research project.

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Last updated: 23 January 2024