The main differences between patent protection and the legal protection of a utility model concern protected objects, the level of invention and the duration of legal protection. The rights conferred by a patent and a utility model certificate on its holder are the same.
The patent protects inventions in all technical areas. Biotechnological inventions cannot be protected as a utility model. This includes both biological substances (including micro-organisms) and products containing them as well as methods of obtaining and using a biological substance.
The grant of a patent or utility model may be refused if the invention is contrary to public policy or public morality.
The inventive step of the invention protected as a utility model may be lower than in the case of patent protection. If the utility model is new, it is different from the state of the art. If, because of this difference, the use of an invention reveals a useful technical characteristic or other useful characteristic, the invention has a sufficient level of inventiveness to protect it as a utility model. The patent has an inventive step if, according to an expert in the field, it does not result directly from the state of the art.
The possible maximum protection time is also different for a patent or for a utility model. In the case of a patent, legal protection may be granted for 20 years. In order for the patent application and then the patent to be valid, a fee must be paid for each subsequent year of validity. In the case of a utility model, the invention shall be protected for four years from the date of filing the application. Protection can be extended for another four years and then for two years.
Last updated: 29.12.2021