What’s priority right?

What’s priority right?

Priority right, which is activated by the first filing, shows that you’ve been the first to apply for an invention, industrial design or trademark. To make use of it, you need to claim your priority right when filing abroad.

What’s the time limit for claiming priority?

Applicants have “twelve months for patents and utility models, and six months for industrial designs and trademarks” (Paris Convention, Art.4) from the filing date of the initial application to take further actions.

Why shall I claim priority?

The Patent Office will decide on the novelty of your invention (check out our post on novelty) based on the priority date. If you filed without priority, all the information that became known in the world (including your first application, if published) would be a part of the state of the art, and your invention would no longer be considered new or novel.

All in all, priority claim preserves the rights of the applicants who want to obtain protection for their intellectual property in more than one country.

Utility Model

Utility models are another important type of IP protection, but what exactly can be protected as a utility model, and how do they differ from a utility patent or a standard patent for an invention?

Similarly to an invention, a utility model, also known as a “petty patent”, can be patented to protect a technical innovation and prevent other people from exploiting it without the permission of the rights holder.

In some countries, applicants can register utility models in the same fields of technologies as inventions. Others only allow utility model protection for mechanical devices and machines, but not for technical, chemical, or biological processes. Suitable subject matter for utility models varies depending on the jurisdiction.

The major difference between inventions and utility models is the fact that only two criteria of patentability (novelty and industrial applicability) are required to register a utility model. The inventive step requirement seen with patent applications is not obligatory for utility models. Moreover, utility models do not go through substantive examination in most jurisdictions. These two factors make this route of IP protection often a quicker and more affordable option for applicants.

The period of validity for utility models is significantly shorter than that for inventions, comprising an average term of 10 years from the filing date, which could be ideal for products with a relatively short commercial lifespan.

Utility models are not available in all countries. You can find information on whether specific jurisdictions offer utility model protection in our handy IP-Guide