A utility model, or petty patent, is a fast and economical way to protect such things as products with short lifecycles, minor inventions or product improvements. A utility model can be used to protect a product or device. In Finland, however, methods cannot be protected. A utility model grants exclusive rights to an invention for a shorter period of time than a patent and limited to a specific country. An invention must be unpublished, industrially applicable and distinctively differ from known solutions.
You can protect the results of your product development quickly with a utility model, thus ensuring that your competitors do not copy it. If necessary, you can take immediate legal action against any infringement.
In Finland a utility model can be used to protect anything that a patent can, with the exception of methods. Even inventions whose inventive step is not sufficient enough to patent can be protected using a utility model. A utility model differs from a patent particularly in that the utility model can be registered immediately, without technical examination, and it has a shorter period of validity, which is no more than 10 years in Finland (20 years for patents). A utility model is usually registered within six months of the application date, whereas it typically takes 3-5 years to prosecute a patent application.
Priority can also be claimed from the utility model application or registration for a subsequent domestic or foreign patent/utility model application filed at a later time within one year.
In Finland a pending patent application can be converted to a utility model registration within 10 years of filing the patent application. If desired, a patent application can be left pending and its prosecution continued. A concurrent utility model registration can be advantageous in, for example, cases of infringement, if it becomes necessary to quickly obtain officially registered protection for litigation in a court of law.
In Finland a utility model can be administratively declared invalid at any time after its registration, provided that it can be shown that the utility model does not fulfil the statutory requirements for registration. Note that a patent whose opposition period (9 months) has expired can only be annulled through legal means.
Carefully planned protection supports a company's business strategy. When you “look before you leap”, you’ll avoid unnecessary costs and IP risks.Read more
Exclusive rights must be maintained, monitored and defended in order to ensure that your know-how and investments are not exploited by outside parties. Advantages in business come from long-term work!Read more