THE "SMALL PATENTS" - NOT ONLY FOR SMALL INVENTIONS.
The utility model is often referred to as the “little brother” of the patent, mainly because of the maximum term of only 10 years, which is halved compared to the patent. Only technical inventions are also eligible for utility model protection. In contrast to patents, however, utility models cannot protect processes.
The requirements for protection are also the same as for patents. However, unlike patents, a description or use of the invention by the inventor (or his legal successor, e.g. the employer) does not constitute prior art to be taken into account. If an invention has “accidentally” leaked out, a utility model often represents the last possibility to protect the invention effectively.
In the registration procedure, the German Patent and Trademark Office does not examine the requirements for protection (novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability). Therefore, utility model protection is easier, faster and cheaper to obtain than patent protection. This examination is carried out by the Patent Office if the utility model is to be enforced. Prior to enforcement, the owner should therefore conduct searches himself in order to be able to evaluate the protectability.
WHAT WE DO FOR YOU
We advise you in deciding whether a utility model application is promising and more expedient than a patent application and, if so, we will prepare the utility model application.
In addition, we take over the administration and renewal of your utility models, support you in case of attacks on your utility models or on utility models of competitors and advise you in all questions related to the infringement of utility models. Of course, we also support you in any necessary searches and evaluate the protectability of your utility model.