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Utility Model


Like an innovation patent, a utility model provides its owner with a monopoly right over an invention, this is the right to prevent others from exploiting the claimed invention without the owner’s consent. Utility models are sometimes referred to as “short-term patents”, “utility innovations” or “innovation patents”.

Utility models are territorial, i.e. the right can be enforced only within the country in which a utility model is granted. Generally speaking, utility models are used for protecting those inventions that involve small improvements or adaptations of already existing products. They are also useful for products that have a short commercial life due to the lower registration costs compared to patents.

It is difficult to define a utility model, since it may vary from one country to another. The differences may concern for instance the protection term (6 to 10 years) or the registration process. Many countries allow the conversion of a patent application into a utility model application. However, in some countries there is a time limit for doing so. If a patent application is refused, some countries allow the patent application to be converted into a utility model within a certain period after the refusal.

Resources about utility models

Europa IP Helpdesk

2 OCTOBER 2020
European IP Helpdesk - Guide to IP in Europe

Latin America IP Helpdesk

28 JANUARY 2021
Latin America IP SME Helpdesk - Utility Models in Latin America in a Nutshell

South-East Asia IP Helpdesk

2 OCTOBER 2020
South-East Asia IP SME Helpdesk - Patent protection in South East Asia


Frequently Asked Questions

General information about utility models

Utility model application in different industries

Frequently Asked Questions

Check below our most frequently asked question for each regional IP Helpdesk.

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On 10 March 2024, Member States of the European Free Trade Association – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – and the Republic of India signed a comprehensive Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).