Based on studies and consultation within FICPI, FICPI asserts that the current processing time of a patent application to receive an enforceable right for an invention, in other words to receive a granted patent, is typically long in various IP systems. Especially products with a short life time cycle need a fast intellectual property protection. Moreover, the current costs to have a patent granted are too high, mainly due to the examination procedure.
On the other hand, FICPI recognizes generally positive experiences with utility models in the various countries, although there are different rules in different countries. Therefore, FICPI supports utility model systems. Although harmonization is not necessary in detail, it is FICPI´s common understanding that a successful utility model system should have minimum frame conditions which provide a certain “minimum” level of harmonization.
A utility model system may encourage inventors to protect technical developments with low costs and quick registration. FICPI is of the view that utility models, as a distinct right as part of an IP system, with appropriate safeguards are beneficial and also strategically important by completing the possibilities for protection of inventions. Utility models are of particular interest and importance to small / medium-sized companies and may be well suited for inventions evolving in products having only a rather short lifespan.
Authors: Klaus Roitto & Uwe R. Borchert
The full position paper is available here