What is a Patent?

A patent gives its owner an exclusive right to use an invention for a limited period of time.

Patent law is a right of prohibition. It does not constitute an authorization to use the patented invention in relation to older rights of third parties. The legislator grants the owner of the patent a temporary monopoly. The patent owner can grant third parties rights of use, so-called licenses, to his patent. An invention is patentable if it is patentable and new, based on an inventive step and industrially applicable.


An invention in the field of technology is patentable. A technical rule must exist that can be executed and repeated. In particular discoveries (e.g. of natural phenomena), scientific theories, mathematical methods, plans, rules, procedures for mental activities, for games or for business activities, aesthetic creations and software are not patentable in Germany and also as European patents. Nor are any inventions patentable if their commercial use would be contrary to public order or morality. This includes, for example, the cloning of human beings.


An invention is considered new if it has not been made available to the public by written or oral description or in any other way before the date relevant for the priority of the application and thus belongs to the state of the art.

Inventive step

An invention is based on an inventive step if it is not obvious to the person skilled in the art.

Industrial applicability

An invention is considered to be industrially applicable if its subject matter can be manufactured or used in any field, including agriculture. In this case it depends on whether the product or process is technically applicable in a trade.

Liesegang & Partner mbB, Rechtsanwälte