The utility model is often considered as an alternative to a patent. However, a utility model may serve as a strategic tool in order to enforce an industrial property right. The holder of a utility model has the same rights as the holder of a patent. In contrast to patents, it is not possible to protect work and production processes with a utility model. Moreover, the duration of a utility model is only 10 years and is therefore shorter than the duration of patent. The maintenance fees for utility models are to be paid as for patents from the third year following the application.
A significant difference between patents and utility models is that a utility model is registered without examination. This means that a utility model is only examined as regards the formal requirements needed for the application before it is registered in the register of the German Patent and Trademark Office. Within a short period of time you may dispose of an enforceable industrial property right which enables you to take legal steps against the infringer of your utility model. A utility model can be split off from your patent application in order to claim rights already during the examination procedure of your patent and in order to protect your own interests.
A utility model may therefore often be seen as a supplement to the patent. An invention (application text) can be filed as a patent (e.g. European Patent) and as a utility model at the same time which means that the holder disposes of an enforceable right in Germany already after a short period of time (about three months).
Another advantage of utility models is their special regulations concerning the grace period. Has the invention already been published before the application date, you can nevertheless file your utility model provided that the filing takes place within three months after the publication.
We have many years of experience in a wide variety of technical fields concerning utility model protection and its implementation and enforcement. Together with you, we will elaborate an appropriate utility model application, and guide you through the registration procedure and support you in the enforcement of your rights against competitors.