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A utility model – sometimes called a ‘petty patent’ or ‘innovation patent’ – is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which allows the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention, without their permission. Utility models aren’t available in the UK but they can be a good alternative to patent protection across more than 50 countries. Utility model patents protect products, but not processes.
The requirements for acquiring a utility models are less stringent than for patents. Inventions still have to be novel, but the ‘inventive step’ or ‘non-obviousness’ requirements are either lower or absent altogether, depending on the country. The term of protection for utility models is shorter than for patents – between 7 and 10 years. In most countries, patent office applications for utility models aren’t examined, so the registration process is simpler and faster, taking six months on average. Utility models are much cheaper to acquire and to maintain and are also considered particularly suited for SMEs that make ‘minor’ improvements to inventions and adaptations of existing products.
Don’t forget to read our Utility Models FAQs for lots of useful information.
Our team can assist you across all areas of intellectual property law, including:
One way of properly protecting your unique technology or inventions here in the UK and internationally is via a patent application. However, a utility model application is another way to protect your intellectual property without the higher costs normally associated with patent applications.
Our intellectual property solicitors can advise you on making a utility model application and explain the process clearly for you step-by-step. We can offer the full range of utility model services, including:
We’ll also work with you to make sure your inventions are fully protected by the most appropriate form of intellectual property, as well as ensuring your exploiting your IP to its maximum potential. Read more about our Intellectual Property Strategy service. Additionally, if you’re involved in an intellectual property dispute, we can offer expert legal advice on resolving any difficulties.
We can help you make utility model applications in over 50 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and more.
See the WIPO site for a full list of applicable countries.
If you’re a UK business looking to protect your inventions or technology internationally, we can advise on the best intellectual property strategy for you, whether this is utility models, patents, designs rights or another form of protection.
We specialise in market-disruptive companies and innovative industries, from SMEs and start-ups to university R&D spin-outs and large multinationals.
Our intellectual property solicitors have many years of experience in searching, preparing and reviewing utility models, especially to help SMEs in their strategic development overseas.
We can also advise you on your inventions and the best protection for them, whether that be via a patent application or going down the more cost-effective route of utility model protection.
Our experts have all been recruited from top 100 UK law firms or from large international businesses. They each have more than 10 years post-qualifying experience. Find out more about our utility model solicitors here:
Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:
Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.
An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.
Have legal peace of mind for £209 per month with additional support from £140 per hour.
A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.
Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.
Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.
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Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.
We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.