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Patent Law Firm

Dr. Keller
Schwertfeger

We protect your innovations.

Practice Areas

We are happy to advise and support you in all areas of industrial property rights protection, so that your intellectual property is properly protected both in your own country and abroad.

ListsymbolFiling and prosecution of property rights

Our law firm prepares German, European, and international patent, utility model, trade mark, or design applications (design protection) and takes care of the filing and legal representation at the specific patent and trademark offices. We also assist you in obtaining plant variety protection before the Plant Variety Offices, or in the application of a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) for your medicament or plant protection agent. A global network of attorneys, with whom our firm has been working for decades, facilitates the comprehensive and worldwide protection of your intellectual property. Our many years of experience in the field of industrial property rights provides the basis for our excellent work in the filing and subsequent prosecution of industrial property rights. We have the resources to intervene promptly for you in infringements - both in Germany and abroad.

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ListsymbolEmployee invention rights

Employee invention rights govern the handling of an invention eligible for patent or utility model protection (employee invention or service invention) between an employer and an employee. Basically, the employer has rights to the employee invention, whereas the employee is entitled to compensation. Whether you are an employer or employee, we advise you in the case of questions or disputes related to employee invention rights. We aim to find a reconciliation of interests satisfactory to both sides within legal requirements.

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ListsymbolLicenses & license agreements

A license governs the rights of use to industrial property rights (patents, utility models, trademarks, designs) between a licensor (property rights owner) and a licensee (e.g., user). Basic or exclusive rights to an industrial property right can be granted by license agreements. We will be happy to advise you during the drawing up and review of non-disclosure agreements

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ListsymbolCo-existence agreements

Particularly in the field of trade mark and corporate logo rights, a trade mark application may often be opposed by older rights. For example, identical or similar trade marks may already have been registered at a trademark office and used for other goods or service classes. This usually does not pose a problem, as long as the business areas of the trade mark owners are clearly distinct and there is no confusion of the trade marks in commercial transactions. A co-existence agreement governs the use and co-existence of industrial property rights, particularly of trade mark rights, to achieve a resolution satisfactory to both property rights owners for the future. Time and cost-intensive disputes before a court or patent offices can be avoided in this way. We provide advice in the review or drawing up of such a co-existence agreement.

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ListsymbolNon-disclosure agreements

A non-disclosure agreement is a civil-law agreement, which governs the silence on private information between contracting parties. Non-disclosure protection covers all verbal, written, or electronic information, in particular documents, drawings, data media, project presentations, lectures, proceedings, etc. A non-disclosure agreement is necessary for sending out initial feelers to possible interested parties, for example, to find a commercial or cooperation partner for the intellectual property you have created. The agreement protects the information provider from the information recipient by means of civil law, so that the disclosed information is handled confidentially. A non-disclosure agreement can trigger a civil suit for claims for damages, but does not replace an industrial property right for IP protection. We will be happy to advise you during the review and drawing up of non-disclosure agreements.

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ListsymbolKnow-How protection

In contrast to an invention, which can be protected by a patent or utility model, know-how does not represent a legal object that can be legally protected. Nevertheless, know-how is a valuable asset. It is based on the experience and knowledge of the person with the know-how and provides, for example, valuable additional and critical information on procedures or product compositions as part of the utilization of an invention. Know-how can be the subject of a specifically designated use contract or a trade secret.

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ListsymbolIP research

IP research is necessary to determine whether possible rights of third parties (particularly valid patents, utility models, trade marks, designs) will be infringed by the use of an invention, a name, or a design and whether the use (third-party IP) may result in legal claims by the property rights holder. Before an invention, a name, or a design is used, it should be verified in advance whether there are property rights that would oppose the utilization und whether these could be violated. Further, IP research before your own property right is filed before the patent office is recommended to determine whether an application is at all feasible. Our firm performs trade mark searches, for example, to determine whether there already are identical or similar trade marks that have been registered in Germany, Europe, or internationally. We also undertake research on technical property rights (patents, utility models) to determine the state of the art that could be relevant to the filing of an invention.

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ListsymbolIP Appraisal

An industrial property right (patents, utility models, trade marks, designs) is a valuable intellectual asset, as well as being an intangible asset. Industrial property rights are often a basic requirement in the exploitation of an invention and necessary for investments by investors. We have calculation models to evaluate the possible value of an industrial property right; these make it possible to estimate the value of a patent, utility model, a trademark, or a design. In the case of start-up companies or the establishing of new companies in particular, primary property rights are what must be invested as an asset in the new company by the property rights owner (often the inventor) and assessed as to their asset value at the time of assessment. We would be pleased to provide advice on such matters and to make appropriate proposals.

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ListsymbolResearch, analysis, and expert opinion on patentability

To be able to examine the patentability of a patent application or an already granted patent, we conduct IP searches to determine the state of the art and analyze these for relevance to the protected invention. We prepare an expert opinion on the examination of the patentability of both your property rights and the property rights of competitors. We point out options for co-existence, indicate possible workarounds, or represent you in licensing negotiations with the property rights owner.

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ListsymbolFreedom to operate (infringement) opinions

We prepare patent infringement opinions (freedom to operate opinions) for your new product or method. If you would like to market a new product or use a new method for manufacturing, it must be verified whether the property rights of third parties could be violated. We perform on request worldwide searches, analyze the search results, and prepare an opinion for you to lessen the possibility of a future patent infringement for your product.

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ListsymbolIP Monitoring

It is the responsibility of each businessperson to respect the existing property rights of third parties (particularly those of competitors) and not to infringe upon these. We monitor industrial property rights such as patents, utility models, trade marks, and designs of both our own clientele and their competitors. As part of our services, we offer ongoing monitoring of property rights; we determine whether property rights that could be of relevance to you have been recently filed by third parties and the substance of these new property rights. We monitor and point out relevant opposition and appeal time limits, if it is necessary to proceed in due time against filed industrial property rights in official opposition or appeals proceedings. As part of trade mark monitoring, we check whether identical or similar trade marks have been recently registered and inform you of your options for opposition and the time limits.

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ListsymbolStrategic planning & IP portfolio

In addition to establishing your own IP portfolio, we also analyze the portfolio of competitors and point out relevant problematic situations and possible solutions. We develop a strategy for you that can be sustained over the long term and assures a preferential position for your company versus the competition. We review your IP portfolio and make suggestions for expansion or repositioning, in order to maintain or improve your market position.

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ListsymbolEfficient time-limit monitoring

We monitor all time limits related to industrial property rights (patents, utility models, trade marks, designs) and continue to do this until the end of the IP’s lifetime. In the case of a patent in Germany, this period is up to 20 years, for a design up to 25 years, and for a utility model and a trade mark up to 10 years. A trademark, in contrast to a patent, utility patent, or design, can be extended as often as desired after 10 years. You need not be concerned about monitoring these time limits, but can rely on us to inform you of them. As a result, you are free to take care of your own business - the realization of your product or your services.

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ListsymbolMonitoring & payment of renewal fees

After the filing for or registration of an industrial property right (patents, utility models, trademarks, or designs), annual fees or maintenance fees must be paid to patent offices in Germany and abroad at specific times, so that the property right continues to remain in force. We keep track of the time limits for all property rights and take care of the payment of associated annual fees and maintenance fees when they are due - worldwide as well.

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Protecting your industrial property rights
since 1927