Utility Models: Fast and Less Expensive Alternative to Patents. Utility model is a form of IP rights available in many countries, providing patent-like protection, for certain types of inventions. At times, both patent and utility model can be combined to achieve optimal protection.
Utility models are a form of protection available in many countries and can serve as an alternative or addendum to regular patent protection. In form and appearance an application for a utility model looks like a patent application in that it includes a patent specification and claims. Utility models afford patent-like protection but unlike a full-fledged patent, in most countries in which they exist, they are granted with only a formal examination (namely questions of susceptibility to protection and scope of claims are not examined).
Consequently, in most countries the process for registering utility models is rapid and far less expensive than that for patents. The caveat is that utility models are granted for a more limited time period, typically for 10 years. However, the big advantage with utility models is that one can obtain enforceable patent-like rights within a time period after filing a utility model application, which is much shorter than that for a patent application. Furthermore, because utility models normally have lower patentability requirements than patents, they may often afford broader protection than that afforded by a patent.