Technical property rights: patents and utility models

Technical inventions can be protected by means of a patent or utility model. This includes, for example, the fields of physics, mechanics, electrics and electronics. Protectable are new products and processes as well as new applications of known products or processes. What is not protectable, however, are scientific theories and discoveries, mere knowhow, non-technical innovations and purely economic procedures.

Not every technical innovation is patentable:  an invention must be novel, non-obvious (i.e., based on an inventive step) and susceptible for industrial application. It is important that a patent is applied for an invention before the latter is published or used in public for the first time, because, otherwise, effective protection is no longer achievable. A utility model, however, can still be filed up to 6 months after publication/use (so-called “grace period”).

There is another great difference between a patent and a utility model. A utility model is not subject to substantive examination as to its protectability by the Patent Office; only in the event of infringement the protectability of a utility model will be examined by the court.

Therefore, there are a number of different filing strategies and options if you desire to protect a technical invention.

We can offer you the following services in the field of technical property rights:

  • Prior art searches
  • Strategy consultancy
  • German and international patent and utility model applications
  • Opposition, cancellation and nullity proceedings
  • Infringement proceedings domestic and abroad
  • License agreements
  • Monitoring of the publication of industrial property rights