Utility Model is also an IP right to protect inventions like patents, it is an exclusive right granted for a limited period of time in exchange of the invention. This can be called a second-class patent. Though this type of protection is practiced only in some countries, these are cheaper to obtain and maintain when compared with the patents. The term for Utility Models usually ranges from 6 – 15 years. The grant lag is shorter, and the requirements for a patentability is not as stringent as for a regular patent. Some countries allow Utility Model only for selected technologies of inventions and or products.
The rights and benefits granted by the Utility Model laws are similar to those granted by patent laws. As the grant lag and the requirements for UM is minimal this can also be called as “petty patent”.
Utility Models are filed for those which are of incremental nature with lower level of inventiveness. This system is designed to the petty technical creations which are not given enough consideration under patent law and have short commercial life, but it is also important to protect them and promote them from technical point of view. The inventions can be devices, articles or other engineering products.
Though not all countries allow Utility Models, countries like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Australia and few more allow with different names in different countries. However, the USA and UK does not allow UMs.
Requirements for grant of an UM
Many countries allowing Utility Model requires that the invention is new. However, Utility Model does not go through rigorous examination process, rather get granted based on the compliance of the formalities and hence sometime called simply registration of Utility Model. Examples of the word “formalities” here may be (a) If all necessary details are given in the specification and drawings, and the description is clear enough (b) The claims are drafted in the required format. (c) The claimed products are not liable to breach morality or public order, and so on… This is one of the reasons why some countries exclude particular subject-matter from being protected, for instance, the processes or method, chemical substances, plants are excluded from protection.