Applying for a utility model

Or, as it is often called: petty patent.


What is a utility model?

The utility model is basically a small patent, that can be acquired for lower costs, in shorter time and even with more simple inventions, that would not meet the requirements of a patent. Defining the same more professionally: the utility model protection provides a legal protection for the new technical solutions not reaching the level of a patentable invention (for example do not involve an inventive step). The owner of a utility model protection has the exclusive right to exploit the utility model or to license another person to exploit it.

The term of utility model protection is shorter than the term of a patent, and is usually maximum 7-10 years. As patents, utility models need to be maintained as well, by paying renewal fees. The main benefit of filing a utility model is that most countries having utility model do not conduct substantive examination and merely grant the utility model after checking that utility model applications comply with formalities. However, most laws require that the invention be new.

Protection is not automatic. You have to file an application describing the invention in technical terms and in a form that meets certain requirements. The first step is usually to file your application to a national patent office.

where can utility models be filed?

Be informed, that not all national patent offices have the option to apply for a utility model. Currently, the countries having utility model law are the followings: Albania, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay and Uzbekistan.

In some of the above countries it is also possible obtain a valid utility model protection through the PCT procedure. Where the national laws allow, you may file a utility model in the PCT national phase, instead of filing a patent application. This can make sense, if the search report drawn up in the international phase contains more unfavorable documents (usually marked with X or Y).

Before applying for a protection, it is advisable to carry out a prior art search, to find out if your invention is new.

hungarian utility model

The term of utility model protection in Hungary is 10 years, then the utility model becomes part of the public domain.

You may obtain a utility model by filing it to directly to the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. Please note, that foreign applicants have to be represented by authorized representative residing in Hungary. In case of obligatory representation, only an attorney or a patent attorney is entitled to perform it. In Hungary it is also possible to obtain a valid utility model protection through an international application within the frame of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office carries out formal and substantive examinations in the course of the procedure, but the examination does not cover the examination of the novelty and the existence of the inventive step. The examination carried out by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office does not extend to novelty and inventive step. The usual length of the procedure is 6-10 months.