Hungarian Law provides for Utility Model protection ("small patents") which may be obtained by direct filing in Hungary or via PCT in which case the PCT patent application enters the Hungarian national phase as a utility model application. Application for a Utility Model protection is the fastest and most cost efficient way of obtaining protection for Hungary providing basically the same enforceable rights as patents for a shorter term of 10 years. Utility Model protection does not exclude parallel Hungarian or European patent grant proceedings, thus Utility Model protection is the ideal solution for providing immediate protection until a patent is granted in respect of the same invention.
Requirements for protection
Utility model protection is granted for a solution relating to the configuration or construction of an article or to the arrangement of parts thereof, provided the solution is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application. Methods and chemical formulae cannot be protected as a utility model.
The solution is new if it does not form part of the state of the art. The latter is more limited than in the case of patents, for example an oral disclosure outside of Hungary or disclosure by use outside of Hungary is not comprised in the state of the art.
The utility model is considered to involve an inventive step if it not obvious to a skilled craftsman having regard to the state of the art. The knowledge and creativity of a skilled craftsman falls behind that of a "person skilled in the art" who's knowledge serves as a standard for deciding on patentability. Accordingly, a new technical solution not reaching the level of patentable invention may still qualify for utility model protection.
The solution is susceptible of industrial application if it can be made or used in any kind of industry, including agriculture.
The following intellectual achievements are not regarded as utility models and are thus excluded from protection:
- aesthetic design of an article;
- plant varieties.
Scope of protection
The protection conferred by a utility model is substantially the same as in case of patents.
The scope of protection is determined by the claims. The description and drawings are used to interpret the claims and due account is taken of any element which is equivalent to an element specified in the claims.
A utility model shall afford the proprietor the exclusive right to exploit the utility model. The exclusive right of exploitation includes manufacture, use, importation of the utility model, and putting the utility model on the market. The proprietor of the utility model is entitled to prevent any person (infringer) from unlawfully exploiting his utility model (infringement).
Term of protection
Upon grant the utility model is protected for a period of 10 years from the date of the filing of the application.
Utility model applications are only examined for compliance with the formal requirements. The HIPO does not carry out a search or a substantial examination, hence it is more important that the applicants verify that the technical solution for which protection is sought meets the requirements of novelty and inventive step as well.
Owing to the lack of substantive examination the utility model applications are dealt with very swiftly and generally pass to grant within 6 months from the date of filing the application.
The validity of a utility model can be contested at any time after its grant. If it is found that the utility model does not meet the substantive requirements (novelty and inventive step), it will be revoked retroactively to its filing date.