A utility model is similar to a patent in that it provides a monopoly right for an invention. Utility models are also known as ‘petty patents’ or ‘utility innovations’. For certain types of invention, filing a utility model application as a means of protection may be a useful alternative to patent protection in many countries in Africa.
Our team of registered patent attorneys and patent professionals handles not only the drafting and analysis of utility model specifications but also the filing and prosecution of utility model applications across Africa. Our understanding of the technical aspects across all industry sectors in Africa means that our advice is robust and practical. Our team of qualified patent attorneys has experience in biotechnology and life sciences, chemistry and chemical engineering, clean technology and energy, electrical electronics and software engineering, food beverage and fmcg, healthcare and therapeutics, mechanical civil and mining engineering, medical technologies, mining and resources, and nanotechnology.
Important considerations when filing utility models in Africa
- Obtaining protection via a utility model application is often much less expensive than proceeding through the patent route: the requirements for grant of a utility model are usually less stringent - there is often no inventive step requirement - and the duration is shorter
- Utility models may be obtained either by direct national filing or through one of the two regional organisations in Africa; ARIPO and OAPI. Not all of the ARIPO Harare Protocol contracting countries provide for utility model protection. ARIPO has adopted a relatively broad definition of a utility model (Section 3ter of the Harare Protocol)
- A utility model application can be based on a PCT international patent application
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