A utility model – sometimes called a ‘petty patent’ or ‘innovation patent’ – is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which allows the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention, without their permission.
Utility models aren’t available in the UK but they can be a good alternative to patent protection across more than 50 countries.
Utility model patents protect products, but not processes.
The requirements for acquiring a utility models are less stringent than for patents. Inventions still have to be novel, but the ‘inventive step’ or ‘non-obviousness’ requirements are either lower or absent altogether, depending on the country.
The term of protection for utility models is shorter than for patents – between 7 and 10 years.
In most countries, patent office applications for utility models aren’t examined, so the registration process is simpler and faster, taking six months on average.
Utility models are much cheaper to acquire and to maintain.
Utility models are also considered particularly suited for SMEs that make ‘minor’ improvements to inventions and adaptations of existing products.
One way of properly protecting your unique technology or inventions here in the UK and internationally is via a patent application. However, a utility model application is another way to protect your intellectual property without the higher costs normally associated with patent applications.
Our intellectual property solicitors can advise you on making a utility model application and explain the process clearly for you step-by-step. We can offer the full range of utility model services, including:
Advising on the suitability of utility models vs. patents
Searches on novelty and infringement
Drafting and filing applications
Amendment and ongoing management of utility models
Transfer, licencing and acquisition of utility model rights
Defence and litigation for infringement
Defence and litigation for revocation
Opposition and contesting the grant of third parties’ utility model applications
Who we help: UK businesses and entrepreneurs with IP to protect internationally
If you’re a UK business looking to protect your inventions or technology internationally, we can advise on the best intellectual property strategy for you, whether this is utility models, patents, designs rights or another form of protection.
We specialise in market-disruptive companies and innovative industries, from SMEs and start-ups to university R&D spin-outs and large multinationals.
Why choose Harper James Solicitors? Our utility model application experience
Our intellectual property solicitors have many years of experience in searching, preparing and reviewing utility models, especially to help SMEs in their strategic development overseas.
We can also advise you on your inventions and the best protection for them, whether that be via a patent application or going down the more cost-effective route of utility model protection.
Our experts have all been recruited from top 100 UK law firms or from large international businesses. They each have more than 10 years post-qualifying experience. Find out more about our utility model solicitors here:
We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.
They adopted a proactive approach to overcoming issues, and their knowledge of the sector and investors and preparedness to identify novel solutions has proved extremely beneficial.
Charles Smith, Director Interpac Limited
Harper James swiftly solves problems with a minimum of fuss. I strongly recommend them and they are a pleasure to work with.
Jean de Fougerolles, CEO Ascension Ventures
Toby and his team have done such a fantastic job providing support across fundraising, IP, employment, GDPR and option pool establishment. Harper James has helped us get solid legal advice, often at short notice relating to a number of common start-up hurdles.
Julian Cook, CEO and Co-Founder Howamigoing
I was looking for intelligent, fast feedback on things I couldn’t do myself. Every step of the way, Harper James have fulfilled that promise – they’ve been so responsive. It’s run as a business, not as a law firm. Anyone who’s been near a law firm knows the difference. It’s a real pleasure.
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