A utility model protects your invention in Austria just like a patent. You need the same application documents as for a patent application, but there are differences with respect to the procedure, the term of protection and the costs, etc. The utility model does not involve such lengthy examination as for a patent before claims that can be protected are in place. If your utility model is formally in order, you will be sent a search report regarding the novelty and inventiveness of the claims. If you pay the registration fee, your utility model will be registered, even if it is not novel and inventive according to the search report. The advantage is that you obtain protection faster. The disadvantage is that third parties can request the declaration of nullity of a utility model. The procedure is described in further detail below.
Nevertheless, as with a patent, you alone may produce, sell or use your invention in Austria. Other parties are not entitled to do so.
If the utility model is formally in order, a search report is sent regarding the novelty and inventiveness of the subject of the application. The identified state of the art is categorised as X, Y or A. Despite a negative search report (category X or Y), the applicant can have the utility model registered by paying a registration fee. However, that entails a certain risk, since the utility model may be declared null based on a third-party request for a declaration of nullity.
The claims can, however, be changed and modified following receipt of the search report, except in the case of accelerated registration, where the search report comes after the registration.
Registration takes eleven months on average. However, for a supplementary fee, you may apply for accelerated registration. In that case the application is registered immediately after it has been found to be in conformity with the law, and the utility model specification is published. The search report is only prepared and published afterwards. However, claims can no longer be modified in the case of accelerated registration!
Utility model protection commences upon registration in the Utility Model Register according to the decision of the examiner and publication in the Utility Model Gazette. The utility model specification is provided on the publication server and a utility model certificate is issued.
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