In the IP Alert of October 2021, we explained a first series of changes resulting from the Second Act on the Simplification and Modernization of Patent Act. We summarize below three additional changes, which are relevant for day-to-day patent practice:
(a) The period for entering the national phase before the German Patent and Trademark Office as a designated or elected office for international applications is extended to 31 months.
This amendment will enter into force on May 1, 2022.
(b) In suitable cases to be determined by the German Patent and Trademark Office, parties will be allowed to participate in hearings by video conferencing. However, in such cases, it will still be possible to be physically present on site. These options will be available as soon as the necessary internal technical infrastructure has been established at the German Patent Office.
(c) The annual fees for the maintenance of patent applications or patents will be moderately increased. According to the German Patent and Trademark Office, the increase takes into account the drop in the fee level caused by inflation since 1999.
The change in fees will come into force on July, 1 2022.
As a consequence, in case annual fees are due for German Patents or German parts of European Patents between July and December 2022, it can be worthwhile to take the necessary steps so that the fee can be paid before July 1, 2022.
This IP Alert is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.