In principle, utility models are designed for minor inventions, which require less inventive activity than that required in order to be able to grant a patent.

Utility models are processed more quickly and economically than patents, but only provide ten years' worth of protection in contrast to the twenty years offered by patents.

In addition, utility models cannot be used to protect methods (with the exception of some countries). This protection is however granted by patents.

Not all countries offer utility models, which means that the protection they award cannot be extended to all countries following an initial application, which may lead to certain problems.

Consult the list of countries that offer utility models in the What is aUtility Model section