January 31, 2023

Patent or utility model, which suits me better?

It is a question that many inventors may ask themselves when they find themselves in the position of deciding which type of protection is the best for their invention. It is essential to have in mind the nature’s invention and the strategy to follow. Depending on this, it will be necessary to choose between the utility model or the patent.

Patent and utility model, what are they, and what do they protect?

A patent is a title granted by Spain jurisdiction that gives its holder the right to temporarily prevent third parties from manufacturing, selling, offering or commercial use in the country of the protected invention. Regarding what the patent protects, we can refer to a new procedure, a manufacturing method, an apparatus, a product or an improvement or improvement of these.

For its part, the utility model is another title issued by the same agent that gives its owner the same rights as the patent that protects new devices, products, and improvements. However, the utility model protects inventions of less inventive range than those patents protect. This refers to inventions that give an existing object or product an improvement or practical advantage (whether in structure, composition or configuration). Likewise, it does not protect procedures either, despite being an improvement.

To highlight: neither of the two options protects discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical methods, literary, artistic and scientific works, economic-commercial methods, computer programs as such, forms of information presentation, animal races or plant varieties. Neither would inventions be protected if they are contrary to public order or good customs, the human body in all its stages of constitution and development, nor the essentially biological procedures for obtaining plants and animals.

Differences between patent and utility model

Well, now that we know what the main difference between the two options is, we can start to assess other aspects:

  • Procedural: the patent registration procedure is more expensive and laborious. Due to the complexity of the inventions, a report on (IET) will be necessary, and the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office will need to examine the invention’s novelty. However, during the processing of the utility model is not examined, nor its inventive nature.
  • Legal life: the range of inventions is different, so it is logical that the duration of protection offered by patents and utility models do not have the same scope. On the one hand, the former offer protection for up to 20 years, while the latter provide protection for half the duration.
  • Internationalization: the extension strategy of a utility model is limited to those territories in which this figure is recognized, while patents do not find a barrier in this regard as they enjoy universal recognition.

If, despite this information, you still have doubts about the most appropriate protection for your invention, contact us, and we will help you find the path to successful protection and exploitation of your project.