A patent for an invention and a protection right for a utility model give the holder the right of exclusive use of the invention or utility model for profit or professionally, as well as the possibility to ban an unauthorized third party from using the invention or utility model for profit or professionally. The holder may further grant a licence or assign the right to another person.
Despite the similarities in the holder’s entitlement, the rights differ from each other in the protection duration as well as the terms and conditions of protection awarding. Only in certain cases may a patent application be converted into a utility model application.
According to the Act on Industrial Property, in order to be patent-awarded, an invention must jointly satisfy the following conditions:
- be novel, i.e. the invention may not be publically accessible before the priority-right date for patent-awarding;
- involve an inventive step, i.e. it may not be recognized by an expert as clearly resultant from the state of art;
- be industry applicable, e. provided that in accordance with the invention, a product may be created or a solution used, in the technical sense, in any industrial activity, not excluding agriculture.
It is especially favourable that patents are awarded irrespective of the technical branch, for inventions belonging to the following categories:
- creation / product substances, mixtures;
- device tools, machines, and circuits;
- method process description, medicine manufacturing method;
- use new application of already known products.
An additional patent advantage is the protection duration, which lasts 20 years from the date of patent application with the Patent Office.
Utility Model Protection Right
It is easier and cheaper to obtain a protection right for a utility model than to be patent awarded.
In order to be granted a protection right, the utility model must be:
- usable, e. must allow achieving an objective which has a practical impact on the manufacturing or use of manufactured products;
- of a technical nature;
- connected with the shape, construction, or assembly of an object of a permanent form.
A utility model does not need to involve an inventive step, thus even obvious solutions, provided they are technical, novel, and usable solutions, may be granted protection as utility models.
Unlike an invention, a utility model may only be an object of a permanent form, i.e. the technical features of a utility model may only be its construction features.
Therefore the following may not be considered a utility model: substances, mixtures, medicines, methods, applications.
The utility model protection right duration amounts to 10 years from the date of utility model application with the Patent Office.
In case the Patent Office pronounces that the invention does not involve an inventive step, but it is a solution meeting the utility model criteria, then there is a possibility of converting the patent application into a utility model application, with the patent application date being kept valid.