What is Protected as a Utility Model?
The same inventions which are protected by patents, except the inventions belonging to the field of biotechnology, can be protected as utility models.
A utility model, like an invention protected by a patent, has to be new on the global scale, but its inventive step does not have to be as high as that of a patent. The utility model has an inventive step, when due to the difference from the state of art a beneficial technical or other feature is revealed.
Preparation and Filing of a Registration Application
Preparation of a utility model application (hereinafter application) should be done in accordance with the regulation The Formal and Substantive Requirements for the Utility Model Registration Application and the Procedure for Filing Utility Model Applications with the Patent Office. A utility model application may comprise only one invention, i.e. the utility model application cannot be filed for the registration of a group of inventions.
The applicant himself or herself should ensure the compliance of the invention with the novelty and inventive step criteria. However, the Patent Office shall carry out a state of art search and forward the search report to the applicant. The applicant can make corrections and amendments in the application on the basis of the report within two months from the issue of the search report, but it is not compulsory. The search report is of informative importance [Utility Models Act (UMA) § 211].
Upon filing a utility model registration application, a fee should be paid.
25, 56 euros shall be paid where the applicant is a natural person or the applicants are solely natural persons. 102, 25 euros shall be paid by legal persons.
The fee shall be paid to the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Estonia bank account:
- SEB - IBAN EE 89 1010 2200 3479 6011 ; BIC / SWIFT code – EEUHEE2X ; Tornimäe 2, Tallinn
- Swedbank - IBAN EE93 2200 2210 2377 8606 ; BIC / SWIFT code – HABAEE2X ; Liivalaia 8, Tallinn
- Danske Bank - IBAN EE 40 3300 3334 1611 0002 ; BIC / SWIFT code – FOREEE2X ; Narva str 11, Tallinn
- Nordea Bank Finland PLC - IBAN EE 701 7000 1700 1577 198 ; BIC / SWIFT code – NDEAEE2X ; Liivalaia 45, Tallinn
Reference number of the Estonian Patent Office 2900082362, reference number of the Board of Appeal 2900074422.
The fee shall be paid within two months as of the filing date of the utility model registration application [UMA § 18 Section 2]. The specified term for the payment of the fee shall not be extended.
Processing of a Utility Model Registration Application at the Patent Office
The Patent Office shall verify the compliance of a utility model registration application with the formal requirements for documents, payment of the prescribed fee and the validity of the authority of the representative of the applicant as well as carry out a state of art search. If, during processing or carrying out of a state of art search, it is ascertained that a document is missing from the registration application or deficiencies relating to the form or content of the documents exist or if the content of a document is insufficient or unclear for carrying out the state of art search, the Patent Office shall notify the applicant thereof in writing [UMA § 21 Section 2].
As of the date of entry into the register the description as well as the report of the search for the state of art of the utility model are public in the database of utility models. If the applicant does not to make his/her invention public as soon as the registration procedure enables to do so, the applicant has the right to request the postponement of the registration entry, but not for more than eighteen months as of the date of priority [UMA § 32 Section 4].
Legal protection of the utility model shall be valid for four years as of the filing date of the registration application. Legal protection can be extended for four years and thereafter for another two years. A fee is paid for the extension of validity of a registration within six months before the date of expiry of the validity of the registration, or, upon payment of additional fee, within six months as of the date of expiry of the validity of the registration.