A useful model is a technical solution relating to device. Although useful models are sometimes called small inventions , a demand of inventive level is not applied to useful model as opposed to invention. This means that any device can be recognized as a useful model provided that it has a world-wide novelty, meaning it is nowhere described and is not applied practically. At the same time, it can be quite obvious to a specialist.
The main requirement for useful model is absolute novelty. The technical solution is considered new when any information about it was not publicly available before the date of filing application. At the same time, proprietary information, confidential information or any similar information is not taken into account.
In the Russian Federation, exclusive ownership right for useful model is acquired by obtaining a patent for a useful model. The scope of rights in this case is quite similar to the scope of rights for the invention since the patent holder has the rights to the technical solution described in the patent. The patent also certifies authorship and priority. Having obtained the right for useful model, the patent owner becomes the owner of the patented object and can dispose of it at his own discretion - to allow or prohibit using the device by other persons, to sell, to assign rights, etc.
Quite often applications for useful model and for an invention are filed simultaneously as they are in fact one technical solution. And the process of patenting a useful model is easier and cheaper than an invention patenting. In this case, the useful model formula is slightly modified or reduced so that it differs from invention and becomes legally diverse. The substances and methods do not fall under patent protection.
Any private person, juristic person or a group of persons may file an application for useful model patenting. The application shall point out the applicant(s) and author(s) of the technical solution. Applicants and authors may be the same persons(s), but if they are different persons, then author has the right for a reward from the patent holder. For filing an application, as well as grant of a patent in case of a positive decision, the applicant shall pay an established state duty. Before submitting an application it is recommended to carry out a patent search and patent research for revelation of analogs and potential competitors, minimize the risks of denial, etc.
A patent for useful model is valid 10 years from the date of an application filing. Fees for patent maintenance must be paid annually. At the end of this period, the patent may be extended for three years, upon condition of filing of a petition.