Mechanical engineering deals with the design and construction of complex tools and automatic processing units, in which forces are primarily used to carry out largely mechanical operations. Equipment manufacturing focuses on the design and construction of equipment and machinery to modify, measure and control substances.

In almost every scientific and technical field of work and research the use of machinery or equipment is indispensable for mechanical, chemical or electrical processes to take place and obtain a final result.

Mechanical engineering and equipment manufacturing are relevant to such fields as machine tools, drive technology, building plant, printing equipment, vehicle construction, automotive engineering, materials handling engineering, plastics technology, food technology, aerospace technology, medical engineering, special purpose machinery, cleaning technology, textile technology, process engineering, traffic engineering, packaging technology, measuring and control technology, fluid engineering, energy technology, materials engineering, robotics, adaptronics and mechatronics.

To obtain optimum protection for an invention in such fields as mechanical or equipment engineering, the inventive idea must be described in a patent application in somewhat general terms so that competitors will find no loophole to operate around the invention. On the other hand, the patent application text must also describe the invention in a clear-cut manner, so that when it is examined it can be clearly differentiated from any relevant prior art. An experienced attorney will be aware of this need to draft the application text in a way that lies somewhere between the general idea behind the invention and its practical embodiment.

Germany ranks third behind Japan and the U.S.A. in the number of PCT applications filed. In 2007, 60,992 applications were filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO), an increase of 0.7 per cent over the 60,585 filed in 2006. These include some 2,800 patent applications for class A61 of the IPC, which covers the fields of human medicine, veterinary medicine and hygiene (GPTO 2007 Annual Report). The Berlin-Brandenburg region offers excellent development potential and ideal conditions for the biotechnology industry. Berlin has set international scientific standards ever since the times of such renowned Nobel Prize winners as Emil von Behring, Robert Koch, Max Planck and Albert Einstein. There is tremendous research potential in the region, as exemplified by such "beacons" as the Max Planck, Helmholtz and Fraunhofer Institutes as well as the major universities and universities of applied sciences. 85,000 people are engaged in scientific and research work at five universities, three technical universities of applied sciences and more than 20 research institutes with 350 work teams - a scientific network without parallel in the whole of Europe. Over half of the 170 biotech firms employing over 3,200 people are spin-offs from the universities and research institutes.

The Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region in very the heart of Europe is therefore eminently suited as a research location for foreign companies. Research and development projects of their own in the region plus strategic alliances forged with local firms help to accelerate innovation processes and approval procedures. The Berlin-Brandenburg region has developed into a prime location in Europe thanks to its six biotechnology parks and extensive know-how in the fields of basic biological research, biotechnology and biomedicine, where there is a special focus on proteome and genome research, bio-hybrid technologies, regenerative medicine, molecular biology, genetic engineering, biochemistry, RNA technologies, immunology, diagnostics, pharmaceutics, microbiology and bioinformatics.

The chemical industry is one of the Germany’s major economic branches and has a significant share in the country’s total exports. Chemical products figure in almost 90 percent of our everyday commodities.

Innovative and patentable ideas relating to chemistry or chemicals may emerge in areas like organic, inorganic, analytical or technical chemistry, chemical engineering or electrochemistry and may in turn give rise to new biologically degradable plastics, catalysts, lubricants, fertilisers, coating materials, adhesives, photochemical products, biosensors, organic solar cells, electrochemical products, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, to name but a few. Novel processes, too, may be born of inventive ideas and prove patentable, such as methods for the manufacturing of products of the above-mentioned type, or chemical and physicochemical processes for soil, air or water purification, methods for biogas processing or biomass utilisation, techniques in the field of analytical chemistry, and other chemical working techniques.

The formal procedures which patent applications relating to the chemical field have to undergo at the German Patent and Trademark Office or the European Patent Office are no different from the procedures which govern applications relating to other technical areas. The only difference may lie in specific legal provisions applying to patent applications in biochemistry that are aimed at micro-organisms or a peptide or nucleic acid sequence.

Germany is the third largest producer of medical technology in the world after the USA and Japan. In 2004, the world market for biomedical technology was worth around €184 billion, of which Germany accounted for approximately €14 billion. Medical engineering companies had some 150,000 employees in 2002. German companies have the second highest number of patent registrations (behind US companies). 50% of their turnover stems from products on the market for less than two years.

Medical engineering, also referred to as biomedical engineering (BME) is the application of engineering principles and rules to the medical field. BME involves the manufacture of instruments, products and technical processes, which are medical devices. Directive 2007/47/EC defines a 'medical device' as any instrument, apparatus, appliance, software, material or other article, whether used alone or in combination, including the software intended by its manufacturer to be used specifically for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes and necessary for its proper application, intended by the manufacturer to be used for human beings for the purpose of: diagnosis, prevention, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of disease; diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, alleviation of or compensation for an injury or handicap; investigation, replacement or modification of the anatomy or of a physiological process, control of conception, which does not achieve its principal intended action in or on the human body by pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means, but which may be assisted in its function by such means. Active Implantable Medical Devices are regulated by Directive 90/385/EC and in vitro diagnostic medical devices by the IVD Directive. Hence they are not 'medical devices' as defined in Directive 2007/47/EC. In Germany and Austria, however, they are regulated by the law relating to medical devices.

Biomedical engineering is an area with an above-average level of research interest, especially in the following areas: medical informatics, signal processing of physiological signals, biomechanics, biomaterials, system analyses, creation of 3D models, imaging techniques, cell and tissue engineering, clinical engineering, production of all kinds of prostheses, dental implants, cochlear implants of therapeutic and diagnostic equipment, artificial pacemakers, infusion pumps, cardiopulmonary bypasses, dialysis machines, artificial organs and visual aids.