protects: technical solutions
e.g.: objects, devices
not: work and manufacturing processes
is: often a tactical form of IP protection, alternative or in addition to a patent
prerequisites: novelty (six-month grace period) and an inventive step
required: claims, description of the invention, possible figures
official process: registration by the competent patent office, no examination process
where: in Germany and certain other countries
length of protection: maximum ten years (in Germany)
“Patent or utility model?” is a crucial question for which there is no blanket response. The best solution might be both. For example, a utility model (or several) can be drawn from a patent application years after it is submitted – possibly with a different focus specifically tailored to an infringing product. Because a utility model can be submitted in a very short time period, it rapidly creates a foundation for legal action – whereas a patent application that has not been granted cannot form the basis for a lawsuit. We discuss these possible variations directly with you.
A utility model is registered and published a few weeks after submission. Because a property right claim arises immediately upon registration, it can lead to an infringement suit in a very brief period of time. Regular monitoring of at least the IP rights of competitors is therefore strongly advisable.
If a critical utility model by another party is identified, you are not without protection. A utility model is an IP right that is not officially examined. The examination is only carried out by the competent office if a corresponding request for cancellation is made. An infringement claim may be suspended by the court if it considers it likely that the utility model will be revoked under the cancellation proceeding. Cancellation liability may also be argued in infringement proceedings.