Utility Model

A utility model, also referred to as a "petty patent" or an "innovation patent", is sometimes an excellent alternative to a patent. Utility model protection, which can only be obtained for products, not for processes, is primarily used for a mechanical innovation of a rather incremental character that may not meet the criteria of patentability. It confers a right similar to a patent, but the requirements for acquiring a utility model are less stringent than for a patent. Although the requirement of novelty must always be be met, the requirement of "inventive step" or "non-obviousness" is much lower.

You can claim priority for an earlier filed parent application filed in a foreign country within 12 months from the date of filing the Finnish utility model application.  

The Finnish Patent Office does not examine a utility model application for substance prior to registration; it only verifies that the application is completed correctly. This means that the registration process is significantly simpler, faster and cheaper than for a patent, taking 5-7 months on average.

However, given that a utility model is registered without a substantive examination, it does not provide the same kind of security as a patent. Therefore, unless it has already been done, we strongly recommend that you conduct a novelty search. 

The initial term of protection is four years from the filing date. The registration can be initially renewed first for the period of the next four years and then for a period of two years by paying the relevant renewal fees. Therefore, the maximum term of protection is ten years from the filing date.