The utility model rights are recognized as the registered rights which provide the owner ‘exclusivity’ protection in terms of the invention.
In general context the invention must be new and should encompasses the inventive step and able for lending itself to the industrial usage, which would be protected through the utility model.
It is possible to grant utility model without following the lengthy process of examination. Unlike patents, utility model rights are granted for shorter time span; say 6 or 1.0 years, without the renewal or extension possibility and it follows less stringent requirements.
These models are comparatively cheaper in obtaining and maintaining. The utility model of German and Austrian is known as the “Gebrauchsmuster”, which in turns have influenced the model of other nations like Japan.
The utility model working in Indonesia and Finland is termed as ‘Petty Patent’. Such models are deemed to be more suitable for small and medium size enterprises which make few improvements. These are primarily found to be used for mechanical innovations also.
The origin of utility model goes back to the period of 1891 in Germany where it was enacted with a motto of filling the gap. During that time the patent office of Germany provided patents only to those inventions which were new and showed some degree of creativeness.
But it was found that there-were good number of the technical solutions which consisted of the industrial creation having some technical or constructive complexity. Such small inventions were not patented but the German legislature was of the view that they deserved to be protected due to the possession of their high economic value.
Therefore it was decided of creating the set of exclusive rights, other than the patents and which was appropriate for safeguarding such minor inventions. It comes in the form of the utility model rights. Soon after, many other nations also joined up the club in providing utility model in their respective territories.
Like Poland, Japan, Spain, Italy, Portugal, afterwards the list has also been extended with the adoption of the utility model by Greece, Finland, Denmark and Austria. Utility model safeguards the technical inventions which comply with the requirements of novelty and industrial usages with some sort of ‘inventive’ touch.
Usually the procedure of obtaining the utility model right requires fulfillment of simple registration procedure. There are some sort of formal requirements which are only required to fulfill for enjoying the utility model rights.
The application is required to be divided as per the number of devices to be registered. Drawings which are required to be bringing under the utility model protection should be attached with the applications along with the prescribed fees. There is no particular system for checking the application for utility model registration.
Instead of examining whether the field application is novel or not, examiners check that the application meets the desired requirements and is not against the societal orders, application is clear with no misleading facts.
If the application fails to comply with-basic requirements then a notice will be sent to applicant and ask him to amend it. If the applicant fails to do so then the proposed application will no longer exist. Those applications which have been scrutinized and pass through the formality checking levels are required to be registered.
The registration rights will be instituted without passing through any hard core examination. The applicant will pay registration fees. After registering of utility rights same will be published in the official gazette to let the public know about any such utility model rights.
Once all these requirements have been fulfilled, the person will be granted such rights. Generally the applicant can obtain utility model after the 6 months of the application filing. Different rules are followed in various nations across the world.
In Spain, there comes an opposition stage after the formal examination of the application. The third party having the legitimate interests can oppose the utility model registration and can proof that the invention is missing one of the protection requirement prescribed by the law.
Similarly in German, Austria, Finland and Denmark the applicant can ask the patent office for writing the ‘report on the state of the art’, which would help in determining that whether the invention is novel or not and whether it consists of the inventive skills or not. But such report does not have any legal enforcement and therefore office should provide utility model registration despite of what the report says.