This is our utility model!
By registering a utility model the owner may prevent others from commercially using the model without his authorization for a limited period of time in a country where it is registered.
What is a utility model?
The definition of a utility model differs from one country to another (where such protection is at all available). It is to a certain extent similar to a patent. In fact, they are sometimes called “petty patents”, “innovation patents”, “minor patent” or “small patent”. Utility models could be “minor” improvements to, and adaptations of, existing products. Utility models are primarily used for mechanical innovations.
Under Art. 94 of the Polish Industrial Property Act the utility model is:
1. Any new and useful solution of a technical nature affecting shape, construction or durable assembly of an object shall constitute a utility model.
2. A utility model shall be considered a useful solution if by means of that solution a practical effect is attainable, expedient in the process of manufacturing or exploitation of the product.
The main characteristics of a utility model as could be protected in Poland are:
- There is no requirement of an “inventive step” (non-obviousness)
- The maximum duration of protection: 10 years
- It is necessary to provide drawings with the application
- The filing fee is the same as in case of a patent, though the renewal fees are paid at different frequency in comparison with patents: the total costs of maintaining protection are much cheaper
- a utility model must be a physical definite object characterized by technical characteristics, having a defined three-dimensional shape; a utility model can also be a set of detached elements
- a process or a method cannot be protected by a utility model!
During the examination of the patent application or within two months from the date on which a decision to refuse a patent becomes final, the applicant may request utility model protection. The utility model application shall be deemed to have been filed on the filing date of the original patent application. The process of changing a patent application into a utility model application is called conversion.
Sample utility models:
How long can a utility model be protected in Poland?
The maximum duration of protection of a utility model in Poland is 10 years
Where else can a utility model be protected?
Only a small but significant number of countries and regions provide the option of utility model protection! At the moment there are 78 countries where a person can seek protection for a utility model, including Poland. A detailed list including a maximum term of protection can be available here.
How long does a registration process last in Poland?
Approximately 3 to 5 years.
What does a utility model application with the Polish Patent Office should contain?
- particulars of the applicant,
- the definition of the subject matter of the application and
- a request for the grant of a right of protection;
- a description of the solution (in 3 copies) disclosing its nature;
- one or more claims (in 3 copies) indicating, in a concise but unambiguous manner, the scope of the claimed subject matter, by giving its technical characteristics;
- drawings (in 3 copies) – obligatory!;
- an abstract (in 2 copies) indicating concisely and clearly the subject-matter and characteristic technical features of the solution.
The table of fees for applying for and maintainig protection of utility models in Poland is available here.
As registered and experienced patent attorneys, we can provide the following services:
- evaluate and provide advice on the kind of protection the inventor should better be seeking – either patent or a utility model
- prepare a utility model application, including all the required elements: a description, claims, drawings and an abstract
- exchange correspondence with a patent office: reply to communications, notifications, rectify deficiencies or any irregularities concerning the application as communicated by the office etc.
- introduce allowable amendments to the application
- record changes in the utility model register kept by the Patent Office (new owner, licensee etc)
- monitor timely payment of renewal fees
- represent applicants in opposition/ cancellation/ revocation proceedings
- negotiate agreements with third parties concerning license or assignments
- enforce rights of applicants/owners to their utility models against infringers
- support clients in filing utility model applications in other than Polish patent offices: contact local patent attorneys worldwide, monitor application procedure and timely payments of renewal renewal fees; negotiate amounts of attorneys’ fees, prepare necessary translations
IMPORTANT: Any persons not having their domicile or seat in Poland, in proceedings before the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland in matters relating to the filing and processing of applications and maintenance of the protection (including fee payments) of inventions, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications and topographies of integrated circuits may only act when represented by a patent attorney entered in the Patent Attorneys’ Register kept by the Patent Office of the Republic of Poland whose address for services is in Poland (Article: 236 of the Industrial Property Law).
A comprehensive list of registered attorneys is available on the website of Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys.