Patents - add value to technical inventions
Technical inventions may be protected by patents, if they are new worldwide, involve an inventive step and are capable of industrial application. The patent gives its owner the exclusive right to exploit the invention within a period of up to 20 years. No other person may use the patented invention without permission.
Utility models - easy, low-cost and fast protection for inventions
Technical inventions which are new and industrially applicable can also be protected by a utility model right if they involve a certain degree of inventiveness. A utility model gives its owner the right to exclusively use the invention for up to 10 years. Contrary to a patent, the invention is not examined for novelty and inventiveness. For that reason the utility model can be registered very fast and at low cost. An examination will only be carried out, when a request for cancellation is filed.
Trade marks - badges of origin, labels of quality, advertising signs
Words, images, sounds, shapes, colours and other signs can be registered as trade marks. The term of protection is 10 years. It can be renewed indefinitely. It is not possible to register signs or indications which are merely descriptive of the kind, quality or other properties and features of the goods or services applied for.
Designs - protection of the visual features of a product
Designs protection covers the outward appearance of two-dimensional or three-dimensional articles. When a design has been registered, the applicant has the exclusive right to use the protected design. Designs protection will only come into effect if the design is new and has individual character at the time of filing the application. However, novelty and individual character are not examined upon registration of the design, but only later, by the civil courts, in case of litigation. Design protection lasts up to 25 years.