The Legal Advice Act in Germany only allows certain professional groups to advise and represent others in the protection of intellectual property. Alongside attorneys at law, these are in particular:
These may advise third parties and represent them in dealings with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office, the German Federal Patent Court, the German Federal Plant Varieties Office and the German Federal Court of Justice, and may present arguments before the ordinary courts in industrial property disputes.
Anyone who has passed the “”German patent attorney exam“” is entitled to call themselves a patent assessor. One step more, and they can be licensed as a patent attorney or a representative before the Office for Harmonization. Patent assessors are mostly employed in industry patent departments and may represent third parties for their employers within strict limits.
Professional representatives before the European Patent Office
(European Patent Attorneys)
These representatives in the 38 Contracting States that are currently signatories of the European Patent Convention may represent third parties before the European Patent Office based in Munich. In this capacity, they may also work on international applications.
Professional representatives before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (European Trademark Attorneys)
This professional group in the European Union may represent others before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante in matters of EU trade mark protection. This is conditional upon their holding power of representation before the national authorities.
Areas of activity
The protection of industrial property covers the following areas in particular:
- Patent law
- Utility model law
- Design law
- Trade mark law
- Integrated circuit layout design protection law
- Law on employee inventions
- Competition law
A representative in the field of industrial property protection has the task, under these laws:
- of securing rights to the results of development work
- of acquiring protection for inventions, designs, trade marks and plant varieties
- of challenging the validity of property rights of 3rd parties not meeting the requirements for protection and therefore of providing freedom to operate for a client;
- of negotiating licences
- of pursuing property right infringements
- of providing development and marketing departments with information on inventions of third party