Patents / Utility Models
Patents allow the inventor a temporary market monopoly for the use of the invention. Therefore, they protect the invention against plagiarism.
Patents are only granted if the underlying technical idea is new, innovative and commercially useable.
Patent protection can be filed nationally, internationally or regionally, i.e. for example for the majority of contracting states of the European Patent Organisation.
In contrast, utility models are only granted in few states, Germany being one of them.
Utility models also protect technical inventions against plagiarism. However, the DPMA (German Patent and Trademark Office) only checks formal aspects when granting a utility model. The office does not check whether an idea is new and innovative so, under certain circumstances, this has to be resolved in advance by the applicant.
It is not possible to protect a process by a utility model.
Utility model protection is limited to a maximum of ten years.
The most important advantage of a utility model application lies in the fast granting. The registration of a utility model usually takes only a few months.