1. Brief introduction into the Utility Model Law

The requirements for the validity of utility models and patents are very similar. Therefore, utility models are often called "little brothers of patents". Also the required documents for filing a utility model application, consisting in general of a description, claims and drawings, conform to a large extent to those of a patent application.

A basic difference between a German utility model and a German patent is that utility models are registered at the German Patent and Trademark Office in the Utility model register without substantial examination. In contrast to utility models, before grant of a patent, novelty and inventive step are examined. The question as to whether a utility model is valid, is therefore examined during infringement or cancellation proceedings. This is called "downstream examination". 

A further basic difference between a German utility model and a German patent is the fact that methods cannot be protected under Utility Model Law.

In conclusion, the maximum term of protection of a German utility model is 10 years, whereas the period of validity of German patents is 20 years.

Please note that many countries do not discriminate between patents and utility models.

2. Overview of services

Our services cover in the field of Utility Model Law in particular:

The drafting and preparation of application documents and the entourage of our patent attorneys during application and registration proceedings of

  • German utility models
  • Foreign national utility models

Additionally, we offer consultation in the following areas:

  • Drafting of utility model applications
  • Prior art searches
  • Negotiation and acquisition of license agreements

We provide legal advice and representation

  • for utility model infringement, including warning letters, preliminary injunctions and filing lawsuits with regard to utility model infringement, as well as defense of attacks of third parties
  • in cancellation proceedings
  • in mediation cases

The power of representation of our office includes representation before the following Offices, Courts and Organizations:

  • German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO) in Munich
  • German Federal Patent Court (BPatG) in Munich
  • German District Courts and Higher Regional Courts (LG, OLG)
  • German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe

3. Filing utility model applications

Any natural or legal person, or anybode equivalent to a legal person, may apply for a German utility model and may protect the utility model in foreign countries. We are eager to assist you in all aspects of filing a utility model application.

Preliminary work

Before filing your utility model application at the German Patent and Trademark Office in Munich, we would be pleased to give you our professional advice. We than prepare the documents for your utility model application, which protects the idea of your invention in a written form, covering description, claims and drawings, protecting your invention - a requirement for achieving utmost protection. We would be pleased to provide you with our evaluation, to determine whether your technical invention is new. 

Contact can be made in writing or by telephone, however, we would also be very pleased to arrange a personal consultation in our office.

Official fees

When filing a German utility model application, official fees are due and to be paid at the German Patent and Trademark Office. The official application fee amounts to 40.00 EUR (irrespective of the number of claims). In general, it takes several weeks from filing the application to registration of a utility model. According to our experience, the total costs including drafting the application documents range between approximately 3,000.00 EUR and 6,000.00 EUR.

Important to note

When filing a utility model application at the German Patent and Trademark Office and after registration of the utility model, protection is obtained only for Germany. If further protection is sought outside of Germany, you may file national applications in countries of commercial interest.

We would be happy to assist you.