Patent attorneys have a wide range of possibilities for professional cooperation. The institute of the professional practice society enables them to join forces with each other, but also with members of other professions. It is possible, for example, to join forces with lawyers, tax advisors, tax agents, auditors and certified accountants. An association with members of other liberal professions is also permissible under the conditions of Section 52c (1) sentence 1 number 4 of the Patent Attorney Regulations (PAO). Members of the patent attorney profession from other countries may also be included in professional practice companies if they would be entitled to establish themselves in Germany under the Law on the Activities of European Patent Attorneys in Germany or under Section 157 of the PAO.
Professional practice companies are free to choose their legal form: they can organize themselves in all legal forms that are permissible under German law. Commercial companies are also possible. In addition, European companies are permitted, as are companies that are permitted under the law of a member state of the European Union or a state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area.
Professional practice companies in which patent attorneys hold the majority of the voting rights and in which the majority of the members of the management body are patent attorneys may call themselves "patent attorney companies".
In principle, professional practice companies must be licensed by the Chamber of Patent Attorneys. The Chamber of Patent Attorneys is a federal corporation under public law, which is supervised by the President of the German Patent and Trademark Office.
Admission by the Chamber of Patent Attorneys is not required:
- Partnership companies mbB already admitted to a bar association as a professional practice company, which have one or more patent attorney partners and whose business purpose is the provision of advice and representation in legal matters,
- partnerships in which there is no limitation of the liability of natural persons and to which only patent attorneys or members of a profession referred to in Section 52c (1) sentence 1 number 1 PAO belong as partners and as members of the management and supervisory bodies. However, these may voluntarily apply for admission.