Utility models

For the quality of a utility model as well, it is crucial to formulate, with due consideration of the prior art, a claim to protection with the largest possible and, for the client, strategically important scope of protection. Similar to patent applications, with utility model applications it is also important to at first determine the core of the innovation in close cooperation with the inventor.

The advantages of a utility model over a patent lie, among other things, in

  • that a utility model protection can be acquired quickly and, as far as the standing official fees are concerned, at relatively low cost,
  • that, for the utility model, a novelty period of grace of 6 months applies from the date of publication of the invention, and
  • that prior use before the date of application filing abroad as well as any oral publications cannot be cited against the utility model with regard to novelty and inventive step.

However, utility models are registered protective rights for which the German Patent and Trademark Office does not examine the pertinent requisites for protection (novelty and inventive step). Therefore, we advise our clients with regard to acquiring a utility model protection that is effective against competitors. Under certain circumstances, it may be strategically viable to file both a patent application and a utility model for the invention, the more so because expenditure of preparing the application documents occurs only once.

Further information

German utility models are allowed for new and industrially applicable technical innovations with the quality of an invention. As such, there is a substantial semblance with the prerequisites for the allowance of patents. Excluded from utility model protection are methods that can be, for example, working or manufacturing methods as also measuring processes. The life term of a utility model is 10 years, and extension fees are due after three, five and eight years.

The utility model can be cancelled upon petition of third parties. If a competitor has registered utility models, a petition can be filed with a statement of the reasons for cancellation as set forth in the law. In such cases, too, the client needs a competent advice and representation, which we can offer.

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