Utility Models

Service overview: Utility model solicitors

  • 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.
  • Don’t forget to read our Utility Models FAQs for lots of useful information.

What we do: Utility model solicitors

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

We’ll also work with you to make sure your inventions are fully protected by the most appropriate form of intellectual property, as well as ensuring your exploiting your IP to its maximum potential. Read more about our Intellectual Property Strategy service. Additionally, if you’re involved in an intellectual property dispute, we can offer expert legal advice on resolving any difficulties.

We can help you make utility model applications in over 50 countries, including:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Russia

See the WIPO site for a full list of applicable countries.

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:

Pricing plans

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:


Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.


Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £125 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.


Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

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