As technologies develop and become more complex, the world invention market is changing. Individual inventors are being replaced by teams of large corporations and academic institutions with significant funds, modern laboratories, sophisticated equipment, high-quality information support, and many years of patent experience.

Still, the innovative activity of individuals and small companies is important. They not only create but also often wish to sell patents, and a utility model is often considered an object that allows obtaining patent rights relatively quickly and inexpensively. If you also wonder, “How can I sell my patents?” or “How long is a utility patent good for?” the information below will be useful for you.

Utility Model: The Basics You Should Know

A utility model appears as a result of intellectual activity, for which the right holder can obtain a legal monopoly after its state registration and the issuance of a patent.

What does a utility patent protect? As a rule, they are linked with a slight improvement of already known solutions or with the combination of features of known solutions to achieve a new technical result.

How long does a utility patent last? Generally, at least one year and may be continued.

A patent of such type can be created if the criteria for patentability are met. In most countries, two such criteria are established.


It should not repeat solutions patented before (or for which applications have been filed) or those solutions information that was publicly available in the world before the priority date. The criterion for public accessibility is the possibility for anyone to legally access the materials, even if national borders and bureaucratic procedures hinder access.

Industrial applicability

The solution claimed as a utility model meets this criterion if the corresponding device can actually be used. Solutions that contradict the laws of nature and the knowledge of modern science about them are not applicable in the industrial sphere. Therefore, the government office is unlikely to register a project that represents something like a perpetual motion machine.

What Is the Difference Between a Utility Patent and a Design Patent?

Inventions are the objects of property closest to utility models. Patents for them also protect a technical solution, but the scope of such solutions is much wider. It can be either a device or any other product (substances, strains of microorganisms, plants, or animal cell cultures) as well as a method, product, or its application for a specific purpose.

In general, the legislation establishes less strict requirements for the registration of utility models compared to the conditions for the registration of inventions. 

How much does a utility patent cost? As a rule, the patent for a utility model can be obtained faster than other types of similar documents, and the entire procedure will be less expensive.

When does a utility patent expire? This patent is valid for a shorter period than other options, which is one year in most cases.

In a nutshell, in practice, the name ‘small invention’ is used as a utility model in many countries all over the world.