Apart from patent protection for inventions, inventors might also seek to protect their technical inventions as utility models, which has the advantage of a fast and simple procedure. While the subject matter which may be protected is always identical to patent protection, process inventions are not protectable as utility models. Utility model registration shall be granted after a formal examination, but without substantive examination. After the registration of a utility model is granted, the owner has the same rights as a patent owner.

The period of protection is three years from the filing date and can be extended for another three years and then for further two years each, up to a maximum of ten years. The protectability of the utility model will only be examined in infringement or cancellation procedures.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.