Frequently asked questions about email submissions


Can I submit requests by email to the IPI?


If you submit electronic submissions to one of the following email addresses, you can submit most requests directly in the body of the email:


Due to legal regulations for certain submissions (e.g. requests for the division of a trade mark), a signed copy of the request and/or copies of additional documents of proof may have to be submitted to the IPI. These submissions are therefore only considered complete when the relevant documents are attached to the submission email as files. For example:

  • Requests for a trade mark division must be signed and attached to the submission email as a PDF file.
  • Requests concerning the transfer of an IP right must have a certificate of transfer attached to the email as a file.
  • The withdrawal of a patent application, the surrender of a patent, the partial surrender of a patent, the surrender of a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) and the filing or rectification of the designation of an inventor, as well as the waiver of the right to be mentioned as the inventor still require a signature and can therefore only be submitted by email as a PDF attachment.

Do I also have to submit multiple copies of attachments by email if I am also going to send them by post?


No, you only have to send one copy of the attachments in the email (e.g. technical documents for patent applications).


Do I have to install any additional software?


What technical requirements do I have to observe?


The technical requirements are laid down in the IPI’s Terms of Use for Email Submissions.


How can I check the hash values of my attachments?


In the confirmation email we send you, you will receive a PDF file, which gives an overview of the hash values and sizes of your attachments. To check whether the attachments have arrived at the IPI correctly and without being modified, calculate the hash value for all attachments on your computer and compare them with the values given in the overview.

You can use a small program to calculate the hash values. For information about this software, please refer to the instructions for installing and using md5deep. Use the hash algorithm SHA-256 (sha256deep.exe) for the calculation.


What do I have to consider when using a digital signature?


The IPI does not require digital signatures on submission emails or individual attachments in order for them to be valid. If you still want to sign your entry, however, you need your own digital signature. Such signatures can be acquired from various providers and must be installed in your email system.

When creating your email, simply select 'Sign'. Your personal digital signature will be added to your submission and transmitted to the IPI. The IPI’s email inbox automatically checks the correctness of the signature. Incorrect email submissions will be deleted. In this instance, the sender receives an email from the IPI informing them that their submission has been deleted.


How does encryption work?


Please note that to be able to send encrypted submissions, you need your own digital signature, which also must be suitable for encrypting emails. Such signatures can be acquired from various providers and must be installed in your email system.

Once you have done this, download the IPI's security certificate and import it into your email program. Then select 'Encrypt' when creating your email. Your submission will be encrypted with the IPI’s public key, which means that it can only be reopened by the IPI. In addition, the IPI will send a confirmation email back to you with your digital signature in encrypted form.


Questions about spam


The confirmation email from the IPI always ends up in my spam folder. What can I do?


Include our sender address in the list of trusted senders in your email program. If you want to add people to your safe recipients list, carry out the following steps: on the home tab, click 'Junk E-mail', and then 'Junk E-mail Options'. On the safe recipients tab, select the checkbox 'Automatically add people I e-mail to the Safe Senders List'.


Questions about communication problems


What should I do if I do not receive a confirmation email?


First check your junk mail/spam mail folder. It is possible that the confirmation email has been placed in this folder by your anti-spam protection. If you do not find the confirmation email there either, please contact the IPI.

Please note: If you do not receive an email confirming receipt of your submission, this means that the IPI has not received it and the time limit has not been observed. In this instance, it is essential that you resend your submission to the IPI by post.


What do I have to do if my signature has been classified as invalid?


If the IPI determines that the signature used is invalid when processing the submission email, this can be because of various factors:

The certificate for the signature has expired.
Renew the certificate used for the signature.

The certificate comes from an insecure source.
Make sure that you obtain the certificate for your signature from a trusted provider only.

The submission email has been modified.
While being sent to the IPI, the email was modified and therefore had to be rejected. Please resend your submission.


The attachments I sent were rejected by the IPI as invalid. What requirements must the submissions fulfil?


The following file types are accepted for submissions:

  • pdf, jpg, bmp, tif, psd, pcd, eps, gif
  • txt
  • MS Office 2003-compatible formats
  • ODF formats (Open Office)


Please note: submission emails containing other file types will be automatically rejected.

For technical reasons, the IPI can no longer accept submissions containing the following file types. These will also be automatically deleted:

  • PDF files with write protection activated or PDF portfolio files
  • Email files (e.g. xyz.eml) as an attachment 


Make sure that the submission email is not larger than 20 MB and that it contains no more than 10 files. If the email size or number of attachments are exceeded, the submission email will be automatically deleted.

Expressly not accepted are submission emails with:

  • Executable files
  • Encrypted files

Email submissions with only some attachments encrypted will also be automatically rejected.


I received a reply to my email submission that the recipient is unknown. Who do I contact in this case?


Unfortunately, the email address entered as the recipient does not exist. Please resend your submission to one of the following five official email addresses for submissions:


How can I be sure that my encrypted emails are being read and that there are no decryption errors or any invalid encryption?


In order for your encrypted submission to be read, you as the sender must encrypt your email with the public key of the IPI before sending it to us.

All technical information on encryption can be found under security certificates. All email submissions that have not been encrypted with this public key are automatically deleted due to illegibility.