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A utility model is another form of legal protection for an invention in addition to the patent. A utility model shall be filed with the Patent Office for registration and it will be granted legal protection for 10 years maximum. A fee is paid every 4+4+2 years for maintaining the validity of the utility model.

The scope of legal protection of a utility model granted upon its registration is equal to that of a patent. However, there is a difference which lies in the fact that the Patent Office does not carry out an examination for a utility model. A pre-condition for a utility model to be registered is that similarly to the patent, the utility model must be novel on the global scale but its inventive step does not have to be as high as that of a patent. Since the applicant will receive the certificate of a utility model as a rule within 3 to 4 months and the fee to be paid is considerably smaller than that of a patent, legal protection in the form of a utility model is more popular among companies and inventors. This is also why there are significantly more utility model applications than patent applications filed with the Patent Office. Since in the case of utility models the Patent Office does not carry out an examination, the applicant bears the risk of the utility model meeting the requirements of novelty, its inventive step and industrial application.

The Utility Models Act of the Republic of Estonia came into effect in 1994.

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