Article Title

Breathing New Life into the German Utility Model System in the Industry 4.0 Era


utility model system, patents, open source, invention, innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), disclosure, licenses, claiming

Document Type



Key players of Industry 4.0, high-tech firms and individual inventors, do not use patents to exclude others due to the open source philosophy and a risk of counter-infringement assertion. These key players developed new uses of patents: (1) defensive use to avoid litigation and (2) proactive use to promote open innovation. They wanted to be rewarded with the freedom to operate instead of monopoly profits through exclusivity. To better serve the key players and in light of these new uses, the German utility model system must be reformed by incorporating a statutory license to implement the open source philosophy and adopting a simplified claiming and disclosure format. The current German translation requirement should be removed to globalize the system.