Foto Rubrik Schutzrechte

Utility models

Utility model protection can be sought for technical inventions, with the exception of methods.

A utility model is entered in the utility model register after a formal examination approximately 3-4 months following the application date. In contrast to a patent, there is no substantial examination for novelty and inventiveness before being entered in the register.

The prerequisites for novelty and inventive step are in principle the same for patents and utility models. For a utility model, however, publications which have been made by the applicants themselves within a period of 6 months before the application date do not destroy its novelty.

Utility model protection may be extended for up to 10 years (3+3+2+2 years) by paying a renewal fee.

A utility model may also be divided from a patent. Division is always recommendable when a patent has not yet been granted and there is a need to sue a third-party to restrain. 

The effect of a registered utility model is that only the utility model owner is entitled to use the protected invention. For any third party, it is prohibited without the utility model owner's consent for the subject-matter of the utility model to be 

produced, offered, placed on the market or used
or either introduced or possessed for the said purposes.

It should be noted that a subject-matter protected by a utility model may also make use of the subject-matter of an older patent or utility model. This is then referred to as a "dependent utility model". In this case, the subject-matter of the dependent utility model may be used only with the consent of the owner of the older protective right. A utility model - like a patent - is therefore a right to forbid and not a right to use.

The protective scope of a utility model is defined only by the content of the claims. The description and the drawings are used merely to interpret the patent claims.

A utility model application should always be drawn up by a patent attorney, since only well-formulated claims will ensure optimal protection by the utility model.