Have You Heard about the Utility Models?

StrategyDriven Tactical Execution Article |Utility Model|Have You Heard about the Utility Models?The European Commission states that a utility model is a registered right, according to which its holder has an exclusive use of the technical invention. It is also mentioned that “the right is given in exchange for public disclosure of the workings of the invention and is granted for a limited period”. Furthermore, utility models guarantee fast and inexpensive protection for technical inventions. The reason for it is that they are usually granted without substantive examination. That is why individual innovators or small enterprises prefer utility models. They are also known as ‘innovation patents’ or ‘petty patents’.

The European Commission states that a utility model is a registered right, according to which its holder has an exclusive use of the technical invention. It is also mentioned that “the right is given in exchange for public disclosure of the workings of the invention and is granted for a limited period”. Furthermore, utility models guarantee fast and inexpensive protection for technical inventions. The reason for it is that they are usually granted without substantive examination. That is why individual innovators or small enterprises prefer utility models. They are also known as ‘innovation patents’ or ‘petty patents’.

Protection

What kind of protection do utility models offer? The exclusive right conferred by a utility model generally allows its owner to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing a product or a process based on the protected invention, without the owner’s prior permission. So, the principle is that others will not be creating, using, selling the invention without your, as owners, permission.

Time limit for utility model protection

The utility model protection is limited in time. Its period of protecting depends on the national legislation of the certain country. In Europe, it is usually up to 10 years from the day of the utility model application completing. When the utility model protection expires, pretty much anyone has all the rights to exploit the invention commercially, and no legislation will be violated then.

Utility models in Europe

Generally, the European Union grants the utility models at national level in these countries:

  • Austria
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Spain

Actually, there is no general European or international utility model protection.

Differences between patents and utility models

Basically, the requirements for obtaining a utility model are not as strict as these for patents. It is obvious that the novelty requirement must be met without any exceptions, but when it comes to inventiveness or non-obviousness, the conditions are not that rigid. That’s why, the utility model protection is frequently a better choice for inventions that do not meet the patentability criteria.

Also, the duration of protection of utility models is shorter than the patent protection period. Moreover, it depends on a country, but it is usually up to 10 years. You have to bear in mind that there is no way of renewing or extending it. What is actually good is that the fees for acquiring and maintaining utility models are always lower.

In summary, the utility model is a different and less complicated way of protecting the exclusivity of your invention. When you cannot meet the criteria for patent protection, patent attorneys will definitely recommend utility model protection, which is cheaper and easier to acquire.

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