The legal protection afforded to utility models is similar to that of inventions. The differences are only in the useful model's validity period. The useful model is valid for 10 years in most countries of the world. Utility models are protected in more than 50 countries. The legal protection of the utility model is confirmed by a patent.
Some countries, such as Australia and Malaysia, issue titles of protection called innovation patents or utility patents, which are similar to utility model patents. Other countries, such as Ireland and Slovenia, grant short-term patents that are also similar to utility model patents.
At its core, a utility model is a "small invention" of a certain type, disclosed in a specific field.
Typically, utility model protection is sought for technical solutions that are not technically complex and have a short commercial cycle. Obtaining legal protection for a technical solution as a utility model, as a rule, is easier and faster than the procedure for obtaining similar protection as an invention.
The legislation of different countries provides for various requirements of a fundamental and procedural nature that apply to technical solutions protected as utility models.
A utility model in most countries of the world must meet the criteria of patentability: industrial applicability and novelty.