German Utility Model (Gebrauchsmuster) online

What is a German Utility Model?

A German Utility Model (otherwise known as a Gebrauchsmuster) provides the same rights as a German patent, however:

  • whereas, a German patent is examined for novelty and inventiveness before being granted, a German Utility Model is not subject to substantive examination;
  • German Utility Models may be filed even if the applicant has used or disclosed the invention during the preceding 6 months or if the applicant has previously used the invention outside Germany;
  • whereas, a German patent lasts for up to 20 years, a German Utility Model expires on the 10th anniversary of the PCT filing date;
  • German Utility Models take only 2-3 months to be granted; and
  • German Utility Models are much cheaper than German patents.

A German Utility Model is a very good low-cost option to secure rights in Europe for applicants who:

  • have a limited budget;
  • have received PCT search and examination reports that were not wholly positive; or
  • wish to secure rights in Europe quickly.

German Utility Models are easy to file

German Utility Models can be applied for online via the GlobalIPCo system. They can be filed:

  • directly (without any prior patent being filed) (for law firms only);
  • claiming priority from a patent filed during the previous 12 months (for law firms only); or
  • as a national phase application flowing from a PCT patent (31 month deadline) (publicly available).

No original documents need to be submitted.

No assignment from inventors is required, but proof of assignment should be retained by the applicant.

Filing a German Utility Model online using GlobalIPCo

Step 1: Register with GlobalIPCo. Registration is obligation-free. There is no licence / subscription fee. You only pay when instructing a filing or courier.

Step 2: Enter PCT details.

Step 3: Enter applicant’s details. The applicant may be substituted on filing, but the original PCT applicant’s details must be inserted.

Step 4: Enter the: (i) number of Claims and Description pages of the German translation of the original PCT specification; (ii) number of Figures in the German translation of the original PCT specification; (iii) number of claims in the German translation of the original PCT specification; and (iv) the number of priority claims.

A voluntary amendment may be made on filing, e.g. to remove method claims.

Step 5: Upload documents

Step 6: Pay $570 and file. Publication may be delayed by up to 15 months for convention / direct applications only.

The German Utility Model application will be filed by Prisma IP (a German patent firm)

The application number and filing receipt should be emailed to you within 2-3 business days of filing.

A scanned copy of the registration certificate should be emailed to you within 2-3 months of filing. You may (optionally) request postage of the certificate via the GlobalIPCo system.

Proof of publication will be emailed to you within 6 weeks of registration.

German Utility Model specification requirements:

General:

  • In German language.
  • No brand names / trademarks.
  • Only typed text.
  • Margins: upper 2.5cm, left 2.5cm, right 1.5cm, bottom 1cm.

Claims:

  • Unity of invention.
  • No method or plant / animal variety claims.
  • Multi-dependent claims allowed.
  • Multiple independent claims allowed.
  • Only SI units.

Drawings:

  • must be in black and white or grayscale. No photographs
  • Use reference numerals (referred to in specification and claims).
  • Drawing numbers and reference numerals +0.32cm high.
  • No written text in drawings, apart from:

Fig. 1 ist …

Fig. 2 ist…

or

Figur 1 zeigt…

Figur 2 zeigt…

Amendments:

Where the German Utility Model flows from a PCT patent, an amendment may be made on filing (e.g. to remove method claims).

No tracked versions of the amended claims (showing changes made) need to be submitted.

Novelty requirement

Although, German Utility Models are not examined for novelty or inventiveness, to be enforceable, they should satisfy the following novelty test:

  • no prior written disclosure; and
  • no prior use within Germany,

provided that applicant’s prior use or disclosure during the preceding 6 months is excused.

Renewals:

German Utility Models are renewed on the 3rd, 6th and 8th anniversary of the (earlier of) PCT filing date / German Utility Model filing date.

[IdeaNav Summary of manual prepared by Prima IP]

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