What is Utility Model and How Does it Help Inventors

Intellectual property rights consist of patent inventions. Under this act, no one can use a patented invention without the permission of the patent holder. 

But what about minor inventions? Inventions that are minor improvements of existing products? To fulfill the protection needs of these types of inventions, the utility model was introduced.

In many countries, including Turkey, the utility model provides protection of minor inventions through a similar system as a patent. These inventions are largely some minor improvements of existing products and do not meet the patentability requirements. 

This system plays an important role in a local innovation system. The utility model grants exclusive rights to the holder for a limited period, to prevent others from the commercial use of the invention without authorization. 

The process of utility model registration (faydalı model tescili) is less stringent, such as lower level of inventive step and offer a shorter time of protection.

What is a Utility Model?

A utility model is similar to a patent. They are issued to protect the rights of the technical inventions of inventors to prevent others from commercially exploiting the inventions without the consent of the right holders. However, the utility model is less invasive than the patent, and the requirements for it are less stringent. Also, they are issued for a short term. 

To obtain protection, you need to fill out an application and a utility model must be granted. The utility model is not easy to define as it varies from country to country. Usually, they are issued for protecting the rights of small improvements, or minor adaptations of existing products. Also, they are issued for inventions that have short commercial life. 



Kind of Protection It Offers

A Utility model offers exclusive rights of the invention to the inventor to prevent or stop others from commercially exploiting the invention. The span of utility model protection is often limited, often 6 to 10 years from the filing date. In general, the utility model protection prevents inventions to be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the consent of the utility model owner. The right is however territorial. Meaning, it can be enforced only within the country it is granted. 



Differences between Utility Models and Patents

The key differences between utility models and patents are the following:

  • The requirements of obtaining utility models are far less stringent than patents. The requirement of ‘novelty’ is always to be met. However, the requirement of ‘inventive step’ or ‘non-obviousness’ may be lower or absent altogether. So, in general, the protection of utility models is often used for innovations of an incremental nature that do not meet the patentability criteria. 


  • The term of protection for utility models is shorter than for patents. In most countries, it is usually between 6 and 15 years.


  • The utility model registration (faydalı model tescili) process is often simple and fast. Sometimes, it takes a mere 6 months to get a utility model for your invention. 


  • Fees for obtaining a utility model for your invention are cheaper. 


  • Some countries offer utility model protection for certain fields of technology, such as mechanical devices and apparatus. Also, they may apply only to products and not processes. 



A utility model protection is thus short-term protection for minor inventions. The utility model registration (faydalı model tescili) process is much simpler compared to patents, and the requirements to be under the protection of the utility model are far less stringent. 

A minor invention or innovation can be protected under the utility model and this offers the exclusive rights of the invention to the holder to prevent unauthorized and commercial use of the invention without consent from the holder.


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