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Patent and Utility Models

In our "Patents and Utility Models" category, you will find valuable information on protecting your technical inventions. Whether it is about the benefits of patents, the quicker application procedures of utility models, or the strategic combination of both protection rights – here we offer you detailed insights and practical advice. Learn how to effectively protect your innovations and benefit from our expertise.

Each article provides you with specific information and valuable tips to best protect your inventions. Dive into the world of intellectual property and secure your competitive advantage through the effective protection of your ideas and innovations.

Patents and utility models are two essential tools of intellectual property that help inventors and companies protect their innovations. Although they serve similar purposes, they differ in several important aspects. This article provides a brief overview of patents and utility models, their definitions, differences, and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

What is a Patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for a technical invention that is new, involves an inventive step, and is industrially applicable. Patents are typically granted for a duration of up to 20 years, provided that annual maintenance fees are paid.

Key Features of a Patent

  1. Novelty: The invention must be new and not part of the state of the art.
  2. Inventive Step: The invention must significantly differ from the state of the art and must not be obvious to professionals in the field.
  3. Industrial Applicability: The invention must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry.

Advantages of a Patent

  • Strong Protection: Patents offer comprehensive legal protection against imitators.
  • Long Duration: With a maximum term of 20 years, a patent provides long-term protection.
  • Monetization: Patents can be licensed or sold, creating additional revenue streams.

Disadvantages of a Patent

  • High Costs: The application and maintenance of a patent are expensive.
  • Complexity: The application process is complicated and often requires the assistance of a patent attorney.
  • Lengthy Process: It can take several years for a patent to be granted.

What is a Utility Model?

A utility model, often referred to as a "petty patent," is also an intellectual property right for technical inventions. It offers faster and more cost-effective protection than a patent and is typically granted for a duration of up to 10 years.

Key Features of a Utility Model

  1. Novelty: The invention must be new.
  2. Inventive Step: The requirements for the inventive step are generally lower than for patents.
  3. Industrial Applicability: The invention must be industrially applicable.

Advantages of a Utility Model

  • Faster Protection: Utility models are usually granted more quickly, often within a few months.
  • Lower Costs: The application and maintenance costs are lower than for patents.
  • Simpler Process: The application process is less complex and does not require substantive examination.

Disadvantages of a Utility Model

  • Shorter Duration: Utility models offer protection for only up to 10 years.
  • Weaker Protection: Since utility models are not examined for inventive step, the protection is less robust than that of patents.
  • Limited Availability: Not all countries offer utility model protection.

Comparison of Patents and Utility Models

FeaturePatentUtility Model
Protection DurationUp to 20 yearsUp to 10 years
Processing TimeLonger (several years)Shorter (months)
Protection StrengthStrongerLess robust
Novelty ExaminationYesYes
Inventive Step Exam.YesLess stringent
Scope of ApplicationBroaderUsually limited to devices


Both patents and utility models provide important protection mechanisms for technical inventions. The choice between a patent and a utility model depends on the specific situation and goals of the inventor or company. Patents offer more comprehensive protection and are ideal for groundbreaking inventions, while utility models represent a faster and more cost-effective alternative for less complex innovations.

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