140 years of the patent office in Germany: European leader among national offices

Press release of 29 June 2017

Munich/Berlin. On Saturday, the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) will be able to look back on successful 140 years as an authority. Founded as the Imperial Patent Office (Kaiserliches Patentamt) in Berlin on 1 July 1877, the DPMA is the national centre of expertise in the field of IP protection today. More than 130,000 patents, trade marks, utility models and designs alone in the record year 2016, more than 2,500 members of staff as well as an income of 394 million euros make it the European number 1 of the national IP offices.

Since 1 October 1949, the federal authority is headquartered in Munich. Upon reunification of both German states on 3 October 1990, it integrated 600 members of staff as well as 13.5 million patent documents from the Office for Inventions and Patents (Amt für Erfindungs- und Patentwesen) of the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Today, the DPMA has four locations in Germany including its information and service centre in Berlin as well as the sub-offices in Jena and Hauzenberg (near Passau). More than 850 patent examiners and about 100 trade mark examiners enable IP protection and thus support the industry's innovative power - from large companies to small and medium-sized enterprises to start-ups and individual inventors. Thanks to an IT department with highly qualified experts acting in the background, we have a future-oriented electronic system architecture and smooth procedures.

The annual figures for 2016 show the achievements at the DPMA: each working day, more than 140 patent and 300 trade mark procedures are concluded in a fully electronic manner, approximately 600 customer enquiries are processed and about 4,400 payment transactions are registered. The office is constantly further developing the e-services such as e-filing of patent, utility model, trade mark and design applications, IP searches and electronic transmission in the customers' interest.

President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer: "The DPMA itself is a successful invention, which does not need to worry about the future! We have a good global network and a more than ever strengthened position - as an employer and service provider, as an actor in the worldwide IP system and as the leader in terms of e-government. Our strategic vision DPMA2020 determines the next operational measures and, thanks to flexible and family-friendly working conditions, the DPMA is successful in the competition for highly skilled staff, which guarantee the high quality and reliability of our services."

From the Empire to today: journey through the office history

On 1 July 2017 (15:00 to 18:00 local time), the DPMA's information and service centre in Berlin will organise a walking tour in the footsteps of the patent office. During this tour, the history of the office in Berlin will become alive: from the beginnings as the Imperial Patent Office on Wilhemstraße to today's seat of the Berlin office on the Landwehr Canal (Gitschiner Straße 97). Furthermore, the tour will lead the participants to the address of the former Office for Inventions and Patents of the GDR - Berlin was a divided city also with regard to the protection of innovation for many decades. Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer: "Come and join us - immerse yourself into the rich history of the office." Detailed information on the tour is available here (link not available any more).

In addition, the DPMA is offering new insights into its history from 1877 to today on occasion of its 140th anniversary on a monthly basis here.

Last updated: 14 December 2022