Ideas and solutions containing technical inventiveness may be left outside patent protection, as the requirements for patentability are high. To fill the gap between patent protection and design protection, a utility model protection has been created. Utility model protection gives the applicant a temporary exclusive right to the commercial exploitation of the invention from the registered application.

The purpose of the utility model right is therefore to provide protection for technical ideas and solutions that do not reach the level of patentability. Utility model protection is also a potential alternative for inventions for which patent protection, due to the quality of the invention or the short life cycle of the product, is too slow and expensive. Utility model protection is obtained faster than a patent because the novelty and inventiveness of the invention are not examined.

A patent and a utility model can be applied for in parallel for the invention. A utility model may initially be necessary when a registration certificate is needed quickly for infringement situations of the invention. On the other hand, a patent application can be converted into a utility model application when it turns out that the invention is not inventive enough to obtain a patent.

Applying for and validity of a utility model right

A utility model application is prepared in a similar way to a patent application. The difference is that a summary is not attached to the utility model application. A utility model is applied for from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office with an application letter and its attachments.

All utility model applications that meet the formal requirements set by law are registered. The registration is valid for four years from the application date only in the country that granted it. The registration can be renewed twice, resulting in a maximum protection period of ten years from the application date. The utility model is valid in the countries where the utility model has been applied for and obtained.

Read more about the utility model on the Finnish Patent and Registration Office’s website.