Utility models are similar to patents (in some countries, e.g. UK, they are called petty patents) but they are easier and more affordable (economically) to apply for.
According to WIPO a utility model is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which allows the holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention, without authorization, for a limited period of time.
A utility model is faster to obtain than a patent (instead of waiting many years to be granted a patent) a utility model and can be registered within a few weeks. The protection lasts up to 10 years.
Utility model protection is also available for chemical substances, food and pharmaceuticals but not for manufacturing processes.
When registering a new utility model, the German Patent and Trademark Office analyses if the formal requirements for an application have been fulfilled.
Substantive requirements such as novelty, inventive achievement and industrial utilisation are not examined.
We will research prior to the application to determine if your invention meets these requirements in order for the the registration to proceed. Subsequently, we will monitor your utility model and help you defend it against acts of infringement by third parties in and out of court.
An utility model registered in Germany is valid only for Germany. Contrary to a patent, it is not possible to register a utility model for the European Union or worldwide. Furthermore it is not possible to use an utility model in every country. For example, Switzerland does not recognise an utility model, while a registration is possible in France, Belgium, Austria and in the Czech Republic.