The intellectual property law of the Federal Republic of Germany (Germany) developed in the 19th century with the industrial revolution and the introduction of freedom of trade. The purpose of the law was to protect the rights of industrial and artistic creators so as to promote the industrial development and prevent breach of free trade at the time. While some basic principles exist today, there have been a lot of changes and extensions with the progress in technology and science. German intellectual property law is amended and updated from time to time by legislation and jurisprudence so as to keep pace with the changing economic situations and technology.

The body of the German intellectual property law consists of a series of acts and detailed laws. They mainly include:

  • the Patent Act (Patentgesetz);
  • the Utility Model Act (Gebrauchsmustergesetz);
  • the Designs Act (Geschmacksmustergesetz);
  • the Trademark Act (Markengesetz);
  • the Act on Copyright and Related Rights (Urheberrechtsgesetz);
  • the Act Against Unfair Competition (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb)

It should be noted that after unification of East and West Germany, the intellectual property law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies to the territory of the formal Democratic Republic of Germany and vice versa.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.