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Legal Security by Property Rights

Utility Models

Advice in all fields of industrial legal protection


Utility models are often referred to as „small patents”. Basically the same substantive requirements as with patents apply to utility models. However whereas patent applications are examined as to novelty and non-obviousness of their subject-matter in a grant procedure this is not so with utility models: utility models are registered without further substantive examination once it has been ascertained that the application complies with formal requirements. The reverse conclusion is that if novelty or inventiveness does not exist with the registered utility model, a declaration of nullity may be applied for by any third party after the granting, at any time.

The subject of a utility model may be any kind of apparatus or method which is susceptible to industrial application. Substances, however, can not be the subject of a utility model.

The maximum life time of a utility model is 10 years beginning from the filing date.