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    Utility Models

    In some cases, it may prove advantageous to seek protection in the form of a utility model rather than a patent and it is therefore worth considering as an alternative - or as a supplement  - especially if you wish to establish a right quickly. Only a limited number of countries offer the possibility of filing an application for a utility model and Denmark is one of them.

    Utility models are often referred to as "petty patents" because, by nature, they resemble patents but are easier to obtain on several counts.

    First of all, the requirements for obtaining a utility model are lower than for patents. Naturally, the requirement for novelty is the same but, in relation to inventive step the standard is lower. The creation has to be clearly distinct from the prior art and not necessarily differ essentially as is the case for inventions leading to patent.

    Utility model protection may be obtained for a period of up to 10 years. The prosecution time is shorter and associated with lower costs than is the case for patents. As a unique feature, it is up to the applicant to decide if the application is to be examined. Prosecution on the merits is thus optional which entails that a utility model may be registrered without obtaining a search or an opnion from the authority. As a general rule, however, a utility model granted following examination is stronger and easier to enforce in situations where infringement arises.

    The relatively short period of protection is often sufficient for the holder, for instance if the product is subject to only a short commercial lifetime.