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The painting "Sonntag der Bergbauern" of Ernst Ludwig Kircher (1880-1938) is hanging above the cabinet table in the Berlin Office of the Federal Chancellor.

Recently, the Federal Ministry of Justice under Sabine Leutheuser-Schnarrenberger (Liberal Democrats/FDP, @sls_bmj) submitted a proposal for amendments to patent law and other laws of intellectual property (cf Draft Amendment, in German) that were approved this week by the Federal Cabinet. To enter into force, the Amendment still needs to be approved by the Federal Parliament (“Bundestag”) which, however, is only a formality given the present clear parliamentary majority.

The amendments to the Patent Act (Patentgesetz, PatG) aim at reducing bureaucracy and providing for more flexible and cost-efficient proceedings before the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA/GPTO), cf. press release (machine translation).

One important measure to improve cost- and procedural efficiency at least for the Office was the introduction of the electronic case file system ElSA which enables the GPTO to process patent and utility model files fully electronically. The present Amendment regulates inter alia the – long overdue – public access to the electronic ElSA files in order to provide for some cost- and procedural benefits to applicants and attorneys as well.

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