Recommendations before applying for a utility model

  • You are advised to use the standardised forms provided on this website in the “Home/Utilities/Forms” section.
  • To avoid investing effort and money on something that has already been invented, it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the state of the art. To do this, you should perform a preliminary search in the technical field of the invention.

This search can be done:

    • Free of charge, using the Inventions databases, available in Spanish as well as other languages. In the "Technology Information/Free Internet Searches" section of the website, you will findstep-by-step information on how to perform these searches.
    • By requesting, after paying a fee, a Patent Technology Report (ITP). In this case, a SPTO employee will perform a preliminary search of patent documents and scientific literature published worldwide and analyse its relevance to the information provided by the applicant (possible patent or utility model application, research and/or development project, specific technical question, etc).

Remember that an invention is patentable when it is novel, involves an inventive step and has an industrial application. In addition, confirmation that your invention is not excluded from patent protection under the prevailing legislation (art.4 and 5 and 143 of the Patent Act) (for example, discoveries, plant varieties, etc.) is necessary.

  • The Utility Model protects inventions of a less inventive nature than those protected by patents. These might consist, for example, of giving an object a configuration or structure that offers some utility or practical advantage.

A device, instrument or tool protected by a Utility Model is characterised by its "utility" and "practicality" and not for its "aesthetics", as is the case in industrial design.

  • With respect to software inventions, when the incorporation of code in the object represents a mere juxtaposition of the two elements, the invention is not considered eligible for protection as a utility model because the object is not being given any configuration, structure or particular construction for incorporating this code associated with a technical advantage. In this case, the advantage is derived from the information provided by the code, which is considered a manner of presenting information, which is not eligible for protection through a utility model.

When in order to incorporate the code into the object it is necessary to adapt its configuration to accommodate it, or when additional structures are added (for example, a shell protection layer for the code), if the invention is considered to provide the object with a configuration, structure or construction that offers advantages, the object shall be considered eligible for protection as a utility model.

  • Avoid any prior disclosure of the invention and publication of anything that describes it, since this could affect the novelty and validity of any utility model you might apply for.
  • Evaluate which market you would like to use your invention in exclusively, selecting the most suitable type of protection in each case based on the size of this market (national, European or international). Depending on your selection, you will be able to choose the most suitable mode: national patent or utility model, European patent, or international PCT application. It may be advisable to submit a national application first. With its submission, you obtain a 12-month priority right that will allow you to postpone the decision to extend protection to other geographic areas.
  • Before submitting the application, check whether you are eligible for any of the subsidies or exemptions provided for in the legislation in force (for more information, see the “Financial Assistance” section of the website).
  • The way in which the utility model application is written is a key factor for properly protecting your invention. Particularly the claims that describe the object for which you are seeking protection. There are professional consultants, Industrial Property Agents, who specialise in writing and processing patent and utility model applications. If you wish, you can consult the list of Agents in the “Industrial Property/Industrial Property Agents” section.
  • The SPTO offers an On-Duty Examiner service where you can ask any question you have regarding the above.