In terms of content, a utility model, like a patent, is a technical property right. However, the legislator provides that the utility model, in contrast to a patent, is not intended to protect a process, but only devices. The utility model is also not examined with regard to novelty and inventive step, so that it is registered without further ado if the formal requirements are fulfilled. Its maximum term is ten years, instead of twenty in the case of a patent.
There is no international utility model, but there are utility models in many countries. While countries of the English legal area, such as Great Britain, the USA, Canada or Australia, in particular, do not provide for a utility model, the advantages of a utility model can be used in many other countries besides Germany or Austria, such as China. From an international patent application it is possible, depending on the country, not to switch to a national patent application, but instead also to a national utility model, if the respective country provides for a utility model.
An application text must be prepared for the utility model which essentially corresponds to the application text of the patent application both in terms of content and cost. If experienced patent attorneys are used to prepare the application documents and to accompany the proceedings, their fees are charged in addition to the filing fee. The utility model can be extended by paying maintenance fees. The German utility model is initially registered for three years, can then be extended for a further three years and finally again for two periods of two years each before it expires after a maximum of ten years.
Any own prior publication of an object can make patent protection impossible, since the patent demands absolute novelty. On the other hand, a utility model can still be validly registered after its own prior publication if the application is filed within six months of its own prior publication. A utility model application is also quickly registered and after its registration triggers the same prohibition rights and claims for damages as a patent, so that in individual cases even a parallel application of patent and utility model can be recommended.
As the official examination of the utility model is limited to purely formal aspects, the registration is much faster than the grant of a patent. As a rule, the utility model can be expected to be registered within three months if the formal requirements are met directly. Your patent attorneys will be happy to assist you in this process and will ensure that the registration process runs smoothly and quickly.
Geitz Truckenmüller Lucht Christ
Your patent attorneys since 1969