|Intellectual property law|
|Sui generis rights|
A utility model is an intellectual property right to protect inventions. This right is available in a number of national statutes, as described below. It is very similar to the patent, but usually has a shorter term (often 6 to 15 years) and less stringent patentability requirements.
A utility model is a statutory monopoly granted for a limited time in exchange for an inventor providing sufficient teaching of his or her invention to permit a person of ordinary skill in the relevant art to perform the invention. The rights conferred by utility model laws are very similar to those granted by patent laws, but are more suited to what may be considered as "incremental inventions". Terms such as "petty patent", "innovation patent", "minor patent", and "small patent" may also be considered to fall within the definition of "utility model".
Requirements for grant
Most countries having utility model laws require that the invention be new. However, many patent or utility model offices do not conduct substantive examination and merely grant the utility model after checking that utility model applications comply with formalities. Some countries exclude particular subject matter from utility model protection. For example, methods, plants and animals are normally barred from utility model protection.
In Germany, a utility model is considered to be new if it does not form part of the state of the art. The state of the art comprises any knowledge made available to the public by means of a written description or by use within Germany before the date relevant for the priority of the application. Description or use within the six months preceding the date relevant for the priority of the application shall not be taken into consideration if it is based on the conception of the applicant or his predecessor in title.
In Italy, a utility model (in Italian: 'Modello d'utilità') is considered to be new if it does not form part of the state of the art. The state of the art comprises any knowledge made available to the public by means of a written or oral disclosure, anywhere in the World, before the filing date of the application or the priority date (if claimed). The utility model must also involve an inventive step, i.e. machines, devices or items which are claimed in the utility models must be more effective and/or easier to use than the ones according to prior art. Utility models cannot claim processes or methods. At the time of filing the application a filing fee is due which also covers the maintenance for years 1 to 4. No claim fee is provided. The Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM) does not perform substantive examination of the application in order to assess novelty and inventive step of what is claimed; the examination is limited to formal requirements only. Publication occurs at 18 months from the filing date or the oldest priority date, if any; at the time of filing the application the applicant may request advance publication, which normally occurs within 90 days. In any case only bibliographic data are published after 1 month from the filing. Grant generally occurs within 2 years. The validity of an Italian utility model is ascertained by the Judge and his/her technical expert, during litigation. At the end of the fourth year from the filing of the application, a maintenance fee for the years 5 to 10 falls due. Foreign companies/residents must indicate an address of service in Italy, that may correspond to the domicile of a lawyer or, as always occurs, a chartered patent attorney.
In Spain, the novelty requirement for obtaining a utility model (Spanish: modelo de utilidad) is "relative", i.e. only public written disclosure of the invention in Spain is prejudicial against the novelty of the invention claimed in the utility model. This is in sharp contrast with Spanish patents for which absolute novelty is required. What constitutes a "disclosure of the invention in Spain" has been the subject of two decisions of the Spanish Supreme Court, in 1996 and 2004.
Availability and names
Utility model applications may be prepared and filed at local patent offices in countries where utility model protection is available.
The table below is a list of countries having utility model protection under various names as at March 2008.
|Country||Type of Protection||Maximum Term||PCT route available||Conversion from Patent Application|
|Albania||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Angola||utility model||no set term||No||No|
|Argentina||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|ARIPO||utility model||8 years||Yes||Yes|
|Armenia||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Aruba||small patent||6 years||Yes via Netherlands||Yes|
|Australia||innovation patent||8 years||Not unless by division||Yes|
|Austria||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes by division|
|Belarus||utility model||8 years||Yes||unknown|
|Belgium||short patent||6 years||No||No|
|Belize||utility model||7 years||Yes||Yes|
|Bolivia||utility model||10 years||No||unknown|
|Botswana||utility model||7 years||Yes||unknown|
|Brazil||utility model||15 years||Yes||probably|
|Bulgaria||utility model||10 years||Yes||probably|
|Chile||utility model||10 years||No||unknown|
|China||utility model patent||10 years||Yes||unknown|
|Colombia||utility model||10 years||Yes||probably by division|
|Costa Rica||utility model||12 years||Yes||Yes|
|Czech Republic||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes by division|
|Denmark||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes by division|
|Ecuador||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes by division|
|Estonia||utility model||8 years||Yes||Yes|
|Ethiopia||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|Finland||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|France||utility certificate [N/A]||6 years||No||Yes|
|Georgia||utility model||8 years||Yes||Yes|
|Germany||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Ghana||utility model||7 years||Yes||Yes|
|Greece||utility model||7 years||No||Yes|
|Guatemala||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|Honduras||utility model||15 years||Yes||unknown|
|Hungary||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Indonesia||Petty Patent/Simple Patent||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Ireland||short term patent||10 years||No||Yes|
|Italy||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|Japan||utility model||10 – 15 years||Yes||Yes|
|Kazakhstan||utility model||8 years||Yes||Yes|
|Kenya||utility model||10 years (From date of registration)||Yes||Yes|
|Korea (south)||utility patent||15 years||Yes||Yes|
|Kuwait||utility model||7 years||No||unknown|
|Laos||petty patent||7 years||No||unknown|
|Lesotho||utility model||7 years||Yes||Yes|
|Malaysia||utility innovation||20 years||Not directly (+)||Yes|
|Mexico||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes.|
|Netherlands||short term patent (*)||6 years||No||unknown|
|OAPI||utility model||8 years||Yes||probably not|
|Panama||utility model||10 years||No||unknown|
|Peru||utility model patent||5 years||No||Yes|
|Philippines||utility model||7 years||Yes||Yes|
|Poland||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Portugal||utility model||no set term||Yes||unknown|
|Russia||utility model||13 years||Yes||Yes|
|Sierra Leone||utility model||unknown||Yes||probably|
|Slovakia||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Slovenia||short term patent||10 years||Yes||probably|
|South Africa||functional design||10 years||No||No|
|Spain||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Taiwan||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|Tajikistan||utility model||9 years||Yes||probably|
|Tangier Zone||utility model||10 years||No||unknown|
|Tonga||utility model||7 years||No||No|
|Trinidad and Tobago||utility certificate||10 years||Yes||unknown|
|Turkey||utility model||10 years||Yes||Yes|
|Uganda||utility certificate||7 years||No||Yes|
|Ukraine||utility model||8 years||Yes||Yes|
|United Arab Emirates||utility model||10 years||Yes||unknown|
|Uruguay||utility model patent||10 years||No||Yes|
|Uzbekistan||utility model||8 years||Yes||probably|
|Venezuela||utility model||10 years||No||Yes|
|Vietnam||utility model||6 years||Yes||Yes|
(*) The Dutch short-term patent is no longer granted since June 5, 2008.
(+) A Malaysian Utility Innovation cannot be filed directly from a PCT, but it can be interconverted from a national phase patent application
- WIPO web site, Where can Utility Models be Acquired?
- "WIPO Lex — Indonesia: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- U. Suthersanen, Incremental Inventions in Europe: A Legal and Economic Appraisal of Second Tier Patents, in Journal of Business Law, 2001, 319 ff
- Kelsey Martin Mott, The Concept of the Small Patent, in The International Business Executive, 5 February 2007, Volume 5, Issue 3 , pp 23 - 24
- Utility Model Law § 3 Abs. 1
- Italian Patent Law, Decree n. 30 of February 10, 2005
- Articles 147, 148 e-bis and 201 of the Italian patent Law, literally "Codice della Proprietà Industriale", issued as Law Decree no. 30 of February 10, 2005.
- RJ 1996/7239 "Scott c. Sarrió y Sarrió Tisú" and RJ 2004/2740 "PEMSA c. Interflex"
- "Types of Protection under the PCT" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- "Ladas & Parry Newsletter, November 2004". Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- "PCT Applicants Guide - Albania" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-16.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 104, January 2006.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 113, September 2007.
- "ARIPO website". Retrieved 2008-04-27.
- "WIPO Lex — Armenia: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 111, May 2007.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 110, March 2007.
- "Coalition for Intellectual Property Rights - Information on Armenia" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-04-27.[dead link]
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 108, November 2006.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 114, November 2007.
- "Belize Corporate & IP Services". Retrieved 2008-02-14.
- "Ladas & Parry Newsletter, December 1997". Retrieved 2008-02-14.
- "Lei nº 9.279, de 14 de maio de 1996.".
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 101, June 2005.
- Manual for the Handling of applications for patents, designs and trade marks throughout the world, Kluwer Law International, Update No. 90, November 2001.
- "WIPO Lex — Costa Rica: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "WIPO Lex — Czech Republic: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "WIPO Lex — Denmark: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "WIPO Lex — Ecuador: Intellectual Property Laws and Treaties". Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "WIPO Collection of laws for electronic access" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "Patentti- ja rekisterihallitus".
- http://www.innovaccess.eu/national_information.php?ct=FR&ip=utility_model&sb=how_to_file. Missing or empty
- Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) - Patent Manual and Specification
- "Art. 49 of the Mexican Law for Industrial Property" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-20.
- "Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines" (PDF). Congress of the Philippines. Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "Slovak Law on Utility Models, No. 478 of 1992" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-02-16.[dead link]
- "FAQ - Chinese Taipei (TW)". European Patent Office. February 7, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
- Website NL Octrooicentrum "Vanaf vandaag geen zesjarig nationaal octrooi meer ..."