What is a utility model?

A utility model is a patent-like industrial property right. Utility models may be referred to as ‘petty patents”. In Finland, anyone who has made an invention which is suspectible of industrial application, or his successor in title, shall be entitled, on application, to a utility model registration and thereby to the exclusive right to exploit the invention commercially.

According to the Finnish Utility Model Act utility models may only be registered for inventions which are new in relation to what was known before the filing date of the patent application and which also differ clearly therefrom.

A utility model can be obtained also by converting a pending patent application into a utility model application, in which case the utility model application will receive the same filing date as the patent application.

A utility model in Finland is valid for a maximum of 10 years from the effective filing date.

Like a patent, a utility model is an exclusive right to prevent others from exploiting your invention.

Utility model or patent?

It is worth applying a utility model, if you want to protect your new technical idea or product. The requirement for inventive step is lower than with patents.

The application process for a utility model is much quicker compared to a patent application, since the Finnish Patent and Registration Office does not examine the novelty and inventiveness of the inventions in utility model applications except for a separate request.

 

Costs of a utility model application process are typically lower compared to a patent application due to the differences in the registration process.

For a utility model, the maximum term of protection is 10 years from the filing date of the application, whereas it is maximum of 20 years for patents.

Methods or uses cannot be protected with utility models, only with patents.

How we can help you

We assist you with drafting and filing your utility model application and take care of the further actions.

Applying for a utility model

We asses, which form of protection is right for your invention. Often the selection is made between a patent and utility model.

A preliminary search can be conducted, if more information of the novelty of the invention is needed before application process. Results of a preliminary search often support the drafting of an actual utility model application in defining the scope of protection more precisely. Our patent attorneys are experienced in handling patent and utility model matters in various technical fields. We handle the formalities in the filing process and file the application for you. We also take care of the correspondence with authorities. The application process for a utility model is generally much quicker compared to a patent application. According to the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, the average processing time of a utility model application is only three months.

Process

After the application has been filed, it will be passed to a formal examination. If no deficiencies are found, utility model will be registered. Application process requirements vary depending on the country or area in which protection is sought.

Further actions

In Finland, the registration of a utility model is valid for four years from the effective filing date of the application. The registration can be renewed twice: first for four years and then for another two years. Thus the maximum term of protection is 10 years from the effective filing date of the application. We take care of the renewals of your utility model and of the eventual entries in the patent office’s register.

In Finland it is possible to file an invalidity claim against a utility model on the ground that the utility model is registered based on incorrect grounds. An invalidity claim can be lodged if the subject matter of the utility model is not novel or inventive with respect to the filing date of the utility model.

We assist you with different conflict situations, such as with utility model invalidity or infringement matters.

 

International protection

In order to secure as wide protection as is of interest, international protection is often needed. There are several possibilities to proceed internationally depending on the number of the countries in which the invention is to be protected, on life cycle of the invention and on strategy of the company using the invention. We handle the procedure of the international applications directly with Patent Offices or through our international agency network.

If you want to protect your invention internationally, you can claim priority from the earlier application within one year from the filing date of the first application. Priority gives you right to take precedence over others, and it gives you a possibility to wait for the search results in the first application before you must decide in which countries/areas you want to protect your invention. Also a patent application can claim priority from a utility model.

We help you with choosing the most appropriate ways of protecting your IPR internationally.

Other alternatives

An alternative form of protection for a utility model is a patent. If you have a method invention, or you need a longer protection period for your invention than 10 years, you have to protect it by a patent (protection period 20 years). Moreover, if you want Patent Office’s opinion on the novelty and inventiveness of your invention, you have to choose a patent application instead of a utility model application.

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Our Experts will help you

Pekka Heinänen

Pekka Heinänen

European Patent Attorney, EU Trademark and Design Attorney +358 9 4130 2525
Terho Laine

Terho Laine

Registered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney, EU Design Attorney +358 9 413 2535
Juhani Vastavuo

Juhani Vastavuo

Registered Patent Attorney, European Patent Attorney +358 9 413 2540
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