„We should address major problems as long as they are still small.“
Jadwiga Rutkowska (1860–1919)
Especially important inventions are the ones you should patent. To further safeguard developments or to establish protection at little cost you can use utility model protection. This offers a balance between costs and comprehensive protection.
Utility Models, also known as “small patents,” offer cost-effective protection for innovative solutions without substantial examination. In contrast to patent law, utility model law defines the state of the art differently when assessing novelty and inventiveness. For example, German utility model law recognizes a grace period for novelty. Utility model protection can also be established in cases in which it might be impossible to gain a patent even if the Federal High Court of Justice (BGH) has ruled that the requirements for inventive activity and inventive steps are equivalent.
Utility model protection differs from Patent Protection above all in its shorter maximum duration of ten years. There are also restrictions on utility model protection for methods.
Contrary to patent law, utility model laws are neither harmonized in Europe nor standardized internationally. In many countries, the intellectual property right known as a “utility model” does not exist and if such an intellectual property right does exist, the regulations vary accordingly.
In addition to the German utility model, for which the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) is responsible, protection can also be established in other countries; the soundness of this must be assessed, however, on a case-by-case basis.
Special emphasis should be placed on Splitting Off Utility Models, which is possible in Germany, and the increasingly important Chinese Utility Model.
Utility model application
Would you like cost-effective and regionally restricted protection on your way towards intellectual property protection or to support additional intellectual property rights? Then you should consider submitting a Utility Model Application
Enforcing a utility model
Have you discovered a possible infringement upon one of your utility models? Would you like to put an end to the infringement or, alternatively, benefit from license fees? Enforce Your Utility Model.
You do not want to miss out on third-party developments or be slowed down by third-party utility models or patents without warning. We can provide you with a structured overview of Third-Party Developments
Revoking a utility model
Do you know of foreign utility models which might jeopardize your new development or the marketing of your product? In the absence of reasonable workarounds, you can click here for information on how to Revoke Utility Models
Splitting off utility models
Do you already have a pending patent application? Splitting Off a Utility Model
is an opportunity to establish protection quickly and to tailor protection to a specific infringement.
Utility model infringement
Do you need to defend yourself against the accusation of a utility model infringement? Have you been warned or accused of a utility model infringement, or has an interim injunction or an infringement action been filed against you? There are various ways to defend yourself against Utility Model Infringement
Contracts: utility model license, cooperation contract & utility model purchase
Do you plan to purchase intellectual property rights or to sell your utility model? Would you like to license a utility model, transfer a utility model license or execute a cooperation contract (R&D)? We help you draft suitable Contracts
Utility model in China
Do you want to protect yourself against the utility models tailored to your products by (local) competitors, especially in China? Do you want to ensure that you are not excluded from the sale of your own development? Utility Models in China
offer reliable cost-effective protection.