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Utility Models

Utility models apply for improvements rather as for inventions, since the conditions for an invention to qualify as utility models are less strict as far as the inventive activity is concerned. Recent case low however has defined that the requirements for an inventive step are basically the same as for patents.

The disadvantages of an utility model are the shorter validity period of 10 years only and the fact that neither procedures nor applications can be protected by utility models. An exception to this rule is presented by utility models which are related to the protection of a compound or a combination of compounds for the treatment of a disease or condition (a so-called "second medical use"). 

On the other hand, the costs compared to a patent are lower and the registration can be carried out very quickly.