Indexing and digitization of the GDR form treasure (Geschmacksmuster)

PATON, together with its cooperation partners, the University Library and the Computer Graphics Group, both of the Technische Universität Ilmenau, successfully completed the DFG project Erschließung und Digitalisierung des DDR-Formenschatzes (eng. Indexing and digitization of the GDR form treasure; Grant No 415711347 // HO 1649/2-1).

In our download area, you can download the raw data obtained in the project.

You can research the data at the following URL address:(*) (German only)

Please note:

  • Due to copyright restrictions, the data provided in the database, in particular the image data, may only be used for scientific purposes.
  • Mass downloads, republication and commercial use are not permitted.
  • The data may only be used with reference to the source, without alterations and as a complete data records.

The publication of the data via the Register of the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA-Register), as well as on the ThULB platform (Thuringian University and State Library Jena) are in progress.

(*)Privacy policy of TU Ilmenau

Scientific publications and news about the project

Scientific publications:

  • Lea Thiel: Bedeutung des vorbekannten Formenschatzes für valide Design-Anmeldungen (Geschmacksmuster) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des digitalisierten DDR-Formenschatzes. Bachelor thesis (2021), OTH Amberg-Weiden (co-supervised by PATON)
  • Lea Thiel, Sabine Milde: DDR-Formenschatz (Geschmacksmuster/Designs). In: Christoph Hoock, Sabine Milde (Eds.), Proceedings des 44. Kolloquiums der TU Ilmenau über Patentinformation (PATINFO), Suhl, 22.-24.06.2022, p. 81
  • Sabine Milde: DDR-Design-Bestand digitalisiert und erstmals elektronisch recherchierbar! In: Information. Wissenschaft & Praxis 2024; 75(1): 69–77

The results of the project were presented in public information media:


Radio interviews in the media libraries:

Basic information about the project

Initial situation and target of the project

There is great scientific, cultural-historical and legal interest in a researchable fund of industrial designs protected in the former GDR (designs originating in the GDR). Therefore, the stock of designs (Geschmacksmuster) from the GDR period should be made accessible for research purposes, for the interested public and for effective design research. Data from the holdings in paper form at the PATON | Patent Centre Thuringia Ilmenau magazine are made available electronically together with data from the corresponding index cards at the DPMA-IDZ, the information and service center of the German Patent and Trademark Office in Berlin. Only by combining the publications of the designs in the "Warenzeichenblatt" (Trademark Gazette) and in the later "Warenzeichen- und Musterblatt" (Trademark and Designs Gazette) in PATON and the index cards and physical designs in the IDZ Berlin, an effective use of this information is possible.

For this purpose, the booklets, index cards, photos and fabric samples are digitized via an optical scanning process. Page structure and text analysis methods are used to further process this scanned raw data. Following a preparation process, the text data as well as the illustrations from the various sources are merged and made accessible through data structuring, including classification. The processed, publication-ready information will be made available to the public and researchers in perpetuity via appropriate interfaces. Design searches will be possible online in full text or structured and anonymized via search fields in this database.


As a result of the project, a stock of designs registered and protected in the GDR from 1952 to 1990 will be available for the first time in electronic searchable form from two sub-stocks that previously existed only in paper form (designs/patterns and models, copyright/patents for industrial designs (from 1974) and industrial designs).

From October 2019 to September 2021, GDR designs (Geschmacksmuster/Designs) were recorded and digitized. For this purpose, the register entries from the trademark and design gazette (years 1964/04 to 1993/20-21) were scanned from the PATON holdings and the available text and image information was entered into a database in a searchable form. The sample card index stored in the DPMA-IDZ Berlin with photos on index cards as well as fabric samples for GDR applications from the years approx. 1952-1984 was also digitized and transferred to a second database. The holdings are structured as follows:

Stock 1: Trademark and sample sheet

  • 271 issues from 1964/04 to 1993/20-21
  • Register numbers 5127 - 20044
  • 14727 entries, 7990 of them with an illustration in b/w
  • Locarno classification as of ca. 1971

Stock 2: Sample card index

  • 187 card index boxes with incomplete registration data from 1952 to 1984
  • ca. 9130 card groups, with 14955 image and 3474 textile scans
  • 960 of the 9130 card groups have no identification features, which would be necessary for an assignment to trademark and design sheet entries.

The merging of the two data sets is only possible in their intersection, the years 1964 to 1984. Approximately 6916 card groups were assigned to their booklet entries. This is about 85% of the card groups with an identifying feature. In total, these entries could thus be enriched by 13148 images and textiles.

For a publicly accessible online search system, the bibliographic data from the trademark and pattern sheets were merged with the image data from the card indexes and linked. The selection of search fields was analogous to common design databases, such as that of the German Patent and Trademark Office - DPMAregister. Further access to the compiled data material will be provided by the databases of the Thuringian University and State Library.

The stock of designs from the GDR era can now be used for socio-political and historical research purposes, for the interested public and for effective design research.

Even though the term of protection of all designs and industrial models of the GDR has already expired and thus no third party infringements can exist against these designs, they continue to be part of the "pre-known treasure trove of forms" and play an important role in assessing the novelty and individual character of future designs. They can also be included in design invalidity proceedings.

Link to GEPRIS project database of the DFG:


Project leader

Dr. Christoph Hoock
+49 (0)3677 69-4572
Send e-mail


Project coordinator

Dipl.-Jur. Sabine Milde
+49 (0)3677 69 4503
Send e-mail




Dipl.-Ing. Adam Bartkowski
Dipl.-Ing. Ina Bretschneider
B.Sc. Norman Müller

Computer Graphics Group

Dr.-Ing. Ulf Döring
B.Sc. Oliver Sommer

University Library

B.Sc. Michaela Kloy