Fast, exclusive rights for simple inventions
Similar to a patent, a utility model gives you the right to forbid others from using your invention commercially. A utility model can be obtained rapidly, within a few months, so it is an excellent choice for an invention that is relatively simple, or that has a short expected lifecycle.
Key requirement: A new, clearly distinctive invention
Your invention must be new, which means that an identical solution has not been disclosed before you file the application. Your invention must also differ clearly from the state of the art, so that it cannot be merely an obvious or trivial modification of an existing solution. However, the requirements for inventive step are not as demanding as for a patentable invention.
Concrete, technical innovations
In order to be protected with a utility model, the invention must be a technical solution to a technical problem, so it cannot be only a design feature (cf. design right), or a purely a business process.
Utility models can only be issued for a device, product, chemical compound, pharmaceutical product or other concrete solution. Processes and abstract ideas do not qualify for utility model protection. It is also important to note that a single utility model can only be directed towards one invention.
Validity and conversion
The official fees of utility model registration are relatively affordable. However, the attorney expenses of drafting and prosecuting the application are comparable to those of a patent application. innovation voucher funding provided by Business Finland can be used to cover the costs of utility model applications.
A utility model can be kept in force for a maximum of ten years from the application filing date, provided that the appropriate annuities are paid. A pending patent application that is less than ten years old can be converted into a utility model application.