Also how long are patent granted for 15 years or 20 years and is this from the date o publication or from the date of Granting of the patent.
Quoting the EPO's website:
"The maximum term of a European patent is 20 years from its filing date. The patent may lapse earlier if the annual renewal fees are not paid or if the patent is revoked by the patentee or after opposition proceedings."
Is the German patent or an European patent?
Generally speaking, EP applicatons can be filed in english, french and german. Once granted, an EP patent is converted in a bundle of national patents, according to the states the applicant designated. In particular, a german company can file a patent application at the German Patent Office (thus in german), file then a corresponding EP application where Germany is designated.
This patent on the legal events shows it has ceased on the 22 Jan 2009. Can this be revived by paying the fees.
Regarding EP 0639878 B1, its filing date is 17 Aug 1994. Its validity could have thus run until 17 Aug 2014. However, the owner stopped paying its renewal fees before, losing its protection before that time was reached in all but one country: Germany.