Product lifetimes are becoming shorter and shorter, and in many innovative areas fall short of the time it takes for a patent to be granted. The question arises, whether a utility model registered without substantive examination for protectability is not often the better alternative. Find out more in our new article published in PATENT (パテント) by the Japanese Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA).
The Actual Significance of Utility Models in times of shortened product life-cycle lengths
Japan Patent Attorney Association (JPAA), Patent Vol. 75, No. 1, 120 - 127
(Published 10. Jan. 2022)
Authors: Jens Wortmann, Annekathrin Seifert
Translator: Hidemi Inoue
Product lifetimes are becoming shorter and shorter, and in many innovative areas fall short of the time it takes for a patent to be granted. The question arises, whether a utility model registered without substantive examination for protectability is not often the better alternative.
Germany and many other countries of the world have a two-tiered system of technical intellectual property rights (IP rights) consisting of patents and utility models. Where it is available, this system allows an inventor seeking protection for a technical invention, in principle, to choose between the two options, albeit in some countries with certain restrictions for the utility model with regard to the protectable subject matter (in Germany processes and biotechnological inventions are excluded). Utility models are considered a simple, fast and inexpensive means of protection, chosen for inventions of less relevance and used predominantly by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and by local applicants. However, the decision between utility model and patent should not be made based on stereotypical assumptions about these IP rights, but on the actual needs of the applicant. In this article, we show that in today´s time of the fourth industrial revolution, where available utility models frequently can be the intellectual property right of choice in order to secure adequately the research and development results of an undertaking. The filing of parallel patent applications can be dispensed with, which has a positive effect on the costs of this approach.
Original article: https://system.jpaa.or.jp/patent/viewPdf/3941
English translation: PDF File