Utility models are IP rights available in Germany, but not in Europe. German utility models are called “Gebrauchsmuster”. The application documents must be in German. As patents, utility models protect technical inventions. The maximum term is 10 years. Methods cannot be protected by utility models. A substantive examination is not conducted by the German Patent and Trademark Office. This means that the cost occasioned by the substantive examinations required in patents is not incurred. In contrast to patents, there is a period of six months preclusive of prejudice to novelty. Therefore, protection by utility models is still possible if the object of the utility model is disclosed before the application date.
In our IP Guide , we set out the general principles of the main intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, utility models, and designs) available in Europe and in particular in Germany. Please, use our contact form in order to request the password for our IP guide comprising our fees or in order to ask for further comprehensive information about European or German intellectual property rights.