INTELLECTUAL property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce (WIPO).
Patent and utility model are examples of intellectual property but some of our inventors get confused when it comes to protecting their inventions as to patent or utility model. Some of them think that patent is a utility model and utility model as patent. But what could be the distinction of the two types of intellectual property?
According to Intellectual Property of the Philippines, patent is a grant issued by the government through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL). It is an exclusive right granted for a product, process or an improvement of a product or process which is new, inventive and useful.
This exclusive right gives the inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling the product of his invention during the life of the patent. It has a 20 years term of protection. Examples of patentable inventions are technical Solution to a Problem, in any field of human activity, it must be new, it must involve an inventive step and it must be industrially applicable.
Meanwhile, utility model is a protection option, which is designed to protect innovations that are not sufficiently inventive to meet the inventive threshold required for standard patents application. It may be any useful machine, implement, tools, product, composition, process, improvement or part of the same, that is of practical utility, novelty and industrial applicability.
A utility model is entitled to seven (7) years of protection from the date of filing, with no possibility of renewal (IPOPHL). For example, the ball pen is an existing invention but you observe that when exposed to air the quality of ink decreases so you have come up with the cover and that cover is the utility model - a development to an existing invention, or in a pencil you have created the eraser and that is also an improvement or part of the same invention.
Utility model is not novel and it is just a part and improvement of an invention or process while patent is novel. Patent have heavier and longer protection compared to that of utility model but both have the same format for registration and are under the same law which is the Republic Act 8293 or also known as the Intellectual Property Code. Both are subjected to public domain after the term of protection. (Marvelous Sacpa/IPRO/BSU)