Utility model

Intellectual property law
Primary rights
Copyright • Authors' rights • Related rights • Moral rights •
Patent • Utility model •
Trademark • Geographical indication •
Trade secret
Sui generis rights
Database right • Indigenous intellectual property • Industrial design right • Mask work • Plant breeders' rights • Supplementary protection certificate
Related topics
Criticism • Orphan works • Public domain • more

A utility model is an intellectual property right to protect inventions. This right is available in a number of national legislations, as described below. [1] It is very similar to the patent, but usually has a shorter term (often 6 to 15 years) and less stringent patentability requirements.

The German and Austrian utility model is called the "Gebrauchsmuster", which influenced some other countries such as in Japan. In Indonesia the utility model is called a "Petty Patent". [citation needed]

Definition

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"[2]. Terms such as "petty patent", "innovation patent", "minor patent", and "small patent" may also be considered to fall within the definition of "utility model".[3] A "utility innovation" is available in Malaysia. [4]

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. [5]

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 recent decisions of the Spanish Supreme Court [6].

Application

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.[7] #REDIRECT Template:Better source

 
Country Type of Protection Maximum Term PCT route available[8] Conversion from Patent Application
Albania[9] [10] utility model 10 years Yes Yes
Angola[11] utility model no set term No No
Argentina[12] utility model 10 years No Yes
ARIPO[13] utility model 8 years Yes Yes
Armenia[14] utility model 10 years Yes Yes
Aruba[15] small patent 6 years Yes via Netherlands Yes
Australia[16] innovation patent 8 years Not unless by division Yes
Austria[17] utility model 10 years Yes Yes by division
Azerbaijan[18] utility model unknown Yes Yes
Belarus[19] utility model 8 years Yes unknown
Belgium[20] short patent 6 years No No
Belize[21] utility model 7 years Yes Yes
Bolivia[22] utility model 10 years No unknown
Botswana[23] utility model 7 years Yes unknown
Brazil[24] utility model 15 years Yes probably
Bulgaria[25] utility model 10 years Yes probably
Chile[26] utility model 10 years No unknown
China[27] utility model patent 10 years Yes unknown
Colombia[28] utility model 10 years Yes probably by division
Costa Rica[29] 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 unknown unknown unknown
Finland utility model[30] 10 years Yes Yes
France[31] utility model 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 5 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
Kyrgyzstan utility model unknown Yes unknown
Laos petty patent 7 years No unknown
Lesotho utility model 7 years Yes Yes
Macau utility model unknown No unknown
Malaysia utility innovation 15 years Yes No
Mexico utility model patent 5 years Yes Yes. Art. 49 of the Mexican Law for Industrial Property
Mexico utility model 10 years Yes unknown
Moldova utility model unknown Yes probably
Mozambique utility model unknown Yes probably
Netherlands short term patent (*) 6 years No unknown
Nicaragua utility model unknown Yes probably
OAPI utility model 8 years Yes probably not
Panama utility model 10 years No unknown
Peru utility model patent 5 years No Yes
Philippines[32] utility model 7 years Yes Yes
Poland utility model 10 years Yes Yes
Portugal utility model no set term Yes unknown
Russia utility model 8 years Yes Yes
Sierra Leone utility model unknown Yes probably
Slovakia[33] 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 10-12 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 5th 2008[34].