Utility model is an intellectual property protection available in some countries. Utility model is a registered right given to an inventor that gives exclusive protection to the inventor. Utility models generally include mechanical inventions that teach minor improvement in the art. According to WIPO- A utility model is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which allows the right holder to prevent others from commercially using the protected invention, without his authorization, for a limited period of time. In its basic definition, which may vary from one country (where such protection is available) to another, a utility model is similar to a patent. In fact, utility models are sometimes referred to as “petty patents” or “innovation patents.”
The main requirement for getting a utility model protection is novelty. Other conditions such as non-obviousness and industrial applicability may not be dominant while examining a utility model for granting the protection. The term of utility model generally ranges from 6 years to 10 years depending upon the country policy. For example, the term of Utility Model in France is 6 years. There are certain exceptions also, for example, in Japan the term is 15 years, and Utility Models are not recognized in India. The term is subjected to the payment of annual fees with no extension.
Utility models protection is a faster and economic IP protection system for developing countries where there is enormous number of small inventions. It is as good as a patent protection and gives promotion to creativity of individuals. If an inventor files a patent application for a patent protection related to a particular product (for processes utility model is not applicable), then he may file a utility model application for the same invention claiming the priority of the patent application.