What kind of inventions can get utility models?
A utility model is granted for an industrially applicable technical solution. The utility model can also be used to protect chemical compounds, foodstuffs or pharmaceutical products and microbiological inventions. By contrast, methods or uses cannot be protected with utility models, only with patents.
You can get a utility model only for inventions that are new and inventive. An inventive step means that the invention must significantly differ from all the inventions that have become known prior to the filing date. An essential difference to previously known inventions means that it is not totally obvious to those skilled in the art.
The utility model is intended to protect simple device and product inventions, and can be an appropriate form of protection, if
- you need protection quickly
- a 10-year protection period is enough (20 years for patents)
- you have done a thorough search on known inventions and been convinced that your invention is new and inventive.
Utility model or patent?
As for patents, our examiners carry out a novelty search for the invention to be patented, to make sure that nothing similar has been invented before. In contrast, our examiners will not examine the novelty and inventiveness of the inventions in utility model applications, and therefore the registration process for utility models is much quicker than for patents. However, we can on separate request find out the publications that are most like your invention. The average processing time for a utility model is three months, whereas it is approximately 2.5 years for a patent. Read more about the Utility model search.
The inventiveness required of utility models varies according to technical fields. A simple mechanical invention cannot be expected to represent a similar kind of developmental leap in relation to known techniques as an invention in a rapidly evolving high-tech field.
What is required of a utility model is merely a “clear" distinction to the known technique, whereas an “essential" difference is required of patents.
Read more in the Utility model guide (in Finnish). (pdf, 3.5 MB) The Utility model guide is also available in SwedishOpen link in a new tab (pdf, 3.01 Mb)