Japanese Utility Model

(1) Advantages of Utility Model Right

Main advantages of utility model right are follows.

 (1) You can obtain a right earlier than patent.
 (2) You can obtain a right with lower cost than patent.

Liberally interpreted, a patent right is obtained through processes of application, substantive examination, and registration. In contrast, a utility model right can be obtained through processes of application and registration. Skip of the process of substantive examination cuts down time and cost to obtain a right. You can obtain the right in a shorter time of about 2 ~ 4 months and a lower cost of about 20,000 yen (except documentation fee).

So, not only in a case of an idea of lower level in technological aspects, but in a case in which you want to obtain a right in a shorter time or a lower cost, utility model right is usable.

However, in a utility model law, a right is registered without substantive examination and there is no objective estimation of effectiveness of a right, so you must prove effectiveness of the right in execution of the same. There is a disadvantage that you should take care in execution of the right.

(2) Quality Use of Utility Model Right

In a case of a creative technological idea about products of fast product life cycle, such as toys, if you obtain a patent right for the idea, generally, it will take several years for obtaining a right on present situation. So, there is possibility that the product including the invention for which you obtained a patent right has been out-of-datestate or obsolete and there is no opportunity of execution of the right.

On the other hand, in utility models, there is the advantage of obtaining a right earlier. So, as for a creative idea for such products of fast product life cycle, you can protect the newly creative idea earlier by obtaining a utility model right.

As the utility model right you obtained, you can license the same to a third party or prevent others practice of the same without permission as is the case with a patent right.

And you may file a patent application on the basis of your utility model right (however, within 3 years from a utility model application). So you may obtain a patent right for a valuable device of a higher level of technological aspects, for example, a creative idea which has been commercialized.

(3) Procedures for Obtaining Utility Model Right

At a time of utility model applications, “utility model application”, “description” which states contents of the device, “scope of claims” which states the scope of the right which you want to obtain, “drawing(s)” which explains the contents of the device, and “abstract” which states contents of the device concisely are needed.

After submitting above documents to Japan Patent Office and paying filing fee and registration fee for 3years(about 20,000yen in total) together, formality examination like whether there is deficiency in the statements of the documents and examination of basic requirements like whether the contents of the device relates to the shape of an article are conducted.

If an application fulfills these requirements, a utility model right is registered and granted for the device. If there is correctable deficiency in the documents, a utility model right is registered by correcting and resolving the deficiency. After registration of a utility model rights, the utility model bulletin is issued.

With that, it takes about 2 ~ 4 months from application to registration.