The German Utility-Model
Similar to the national German Patent, the German Utility-Model offers a strong protection for a comparable small budget. The time of protection is limited to 10 years. It is often called “petty-patent”. The utility-model is a so called “registered ip-right”, i.e. the patent office does not carry out a substantial examination but rather checks on formal requirements. Thus, the registration takes place quickly – usually three to six months after filing – and can then be litigated. In a lot of constellations, the utility-model is therefore an ideal completion of a patent application. Further, well known advantages of the utility model are the grace period of six months, the applicant-friendly definition of novelty, no need for designating an inventor, the opportunity to branch of different utility-models with different sets of claims of one patent application, lower fees, tactical advantages in litigation proceedings, etc.
Patent applications – whether european, international oder national (US, JP, CH, etc.) – can claim priority of a German utility-model. An interesting option for the registration of a utility-model is the branching off from a German national‑, an european or an international patent application until the grant of such an application.
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