Can patents restrict the noncommercial distribution of schematics and contstruction kits in germany?

Example: A company is patent holder for a blinking LED. A student puts schematics and partlists of blinking LED for hobby electrics on his website. He drew the schematics himself, but they clearly include the the idea of the blinking LED patent.


The effects of granted patents (including European patents) in Germany are defined in the Patentgesetz. Relevant for your question is probably §11.1, according to which non-commercial activities in the private area are not affected by patent protection. In any case, according to §9, patents only concern activities such as the production, sale or use of a patented product (i.e., the physical embodiment). I believe the mere re-publication of the idea contained in a patent would not fall under any such category, in particular if done non-commerically.

  • Will the definition of privaten Bereich cover the publication on a private website? privaten Bereich sounds rather like exclusion of the public. Dec 3 '12 at 0:31

There is a potential danger that the student can be held liable for indirect or contributory infringement. This is the act of providing means that are essential for performing the infringing act while it was known or would be obvious that these means would be used for the infringing act. Of course - concurring with Dr. Falken - such an activity of providing means should be a commercial activity. This indirect infringement prevents infringers escaping liability by selling construction kits of parts with a construction scheme, while the intact product would infringe. Since they are not selling the intact product they would not infringe literally, but by selling the parts and construction scheme they would induce others of constructing the infringing product.

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