Why Germany's Utility Model is Worth Considering - iPNOTE Blog
This website uses cookies. Learn more.

How to start?

Within minutes, create a request with an AI assistant and receive offers from dozens of local IP attorneys
Review offers, compare them, and select the most suitable option. Complete your transaction securely
Stay informed on the progress and communicate with your attorney through the platform until the process is complete
Start protecting NOW

Protecting Your Inventions: Why Germany’s Utility Model System is Worth Considering

By Robert Fichter, JET IP


With 3,869,000 million Euros in 2022, Germany has the highest gross domestic product within Europe, followed by the UK and France with 2,904,089 and 2,639,092 million Euros, respectively. Germany has a well-established intellectual property system which grants protection for technical inventions not only via patents but also via utility models.


According to the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA – GPTO), around 10,000 utility models have been filed in 2022, with a total of 70,253 utility models in force by the end of 2022. While the majority of right owners (58.3%) are German, 12.2% of all German utility models are owned by Chinese entities, followed by 6.8% Indian proprietors, and only 3.8% US owners.


About 10% of all utility models are filed by the so-called branching-off procedure (“Abzweigung”), a very specific instrument in German IP law that creates a quickly enforceable right from any pending patent application with effect for Germany.


In this article, we’ll look into the requirements, procedures, and specialties of the utility model registration procedure in Germany, giving you a comprehensive guide to safeguarding your invention in this important European market.



1. What can be registered as a utility model in Germany?

2. The process of utility model registration in Germany

3. Novelty requirements for German utility models

4. Documents required for registering a utility model in Germany

5. The utility model cancellation process in Germany

6. Costs related to utility models in Germany

7. The German utility models as a hidden champion

8. Final thoughts 

1. What can be registered as a utility model in Germany?


Generally, and comparable to patents, the invention subject to the claims of a German utility model must be novel, inventive, and industrially applicable. 


Not protectable are discoveries as well as scientific theories and mathematical methods; aesthetic shape creations; schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, games or business activities as well as programs for data processing systems; the presentation of information; inventions violating public policy or public order; and biotechnological inventions.


The major difference to patent protection is that a German utility model may not be directed to methods. However, so-called product-by-process and certain use claims, such as the use of a known substance for a medical indication, are indeed allowable.

2. The process of utility model registration in Germany


German utility models are not examined as to substance. Only a formal examination taking place after filing ensures that the claimed subject matter doesn’t fall under the above-mentioned exclusions.


Registration occurs swiftly, usually within 2 to 3 months after filing. Once registered the right is enforceable, which makes the German utility model an important instrument of a European IP toolkit.


As no substantive examination takes place, applicants may optionally request the GPTO to conduct a prior art search and deliver a search report. This report serves merely informative purposes; even if novelty-destroying prior art was revealed, the application would still proceed to registration.


The application may be filed in any language, provided a verified German translation is filed within three months.


German utility models may be filed directly, with or without priority claim(s), and they may serve as a basis for subsequent priority claims by patent applications, e.g., German national, European or PCT applications.


The duration is maximal 10 years, with renewals due after 3, 6, and 8 years. Also check how to register a trademark in Germany


In addition to the direct filing process, German utility models may be branched-off to any pending patent application with effect for Germany. This very special legal instrument is admissible up to the expiration of two months from the end of the month in which processing of the base patent application (or an opposition procedure against the base patent application) is terminated and within 10 years of the filing of the base patent application.


In this context, the German law surprises with a specific feature, namely the assumption that an already granted patent is again considered “pending” during opposition procedures. In other words, if opposition has been filed against a granted German or European patent, a German utility model can still be branched off this patent (provided the time frame of 10 years is met). The importance of this possibility is explained further below.

3. Novelty requirements for German utility models


A six-month grace period from the disclosure of the invention is granted by the Act. Any publications or use by the applicant or his predecessor in title within six months preceding the priority date shall not be taken into consideration for assessing the validity of the utility model. In consequence, a German utility model may be the last resort for obtaining patent-like protection in Germany in case of previous disclosure of the invention by the applicant.


Further, patents (German national, European national phase) and utility models for the same invention may co-exist in Germany.

4. Documents required for the registration of a utility model in Germany


Utiliry models can be conveniently filed using the GPTO’s filing software without the need for paper documents. No Power of Attorney is required, but applicants  who do not reside in Germany require the utility model being filed by a patent attorney or attorney-at-law registered to practice in Germany and having a German address for service.


The required application fees must be paid within 3 months after filing, and it is recommended to pay upon filing.


Any required translation into German has to be filed within 3 months after filing. Certification of the translation by a German patent attorney or attorney-at-law is required, or the translation be prepared by a publicly appointed translator.


The application documents shall comprise the description, claims and figures, where applicable.

5. The utility model cancellation process in Germany


Opposition procedures against German utility models do not exist. However, the validity of a utility model can be contested in front of the German Patent and Trademark Office by request and payment of the official fee. The appeal instance against decision of the GPTO is the Federal Patent Court in Munich. Under special circumstances further appeal to the German Federal Supreme Court is available.


This invalidity procedure involves written discussions among both parties and an oral hearing and results in an appealable decision. The losing party bears as well the costs of the winning party. During the procedure, the proprietor of the utility model may limit the claims of the utility model to overcome relevant prior art cited by the adverse party. Also, the body may decide on partial cancellation of the attacked utility model.

6. Costs related to utility models in Germany (as per publication date of this article)



Official filing fees (mandatory)€30 (€40 if filed on paper)
Official search fee (optional)€250



Official renewal fees for years 4 to 6€210
Official renewal fees for years 7 and 8€350
Official renewal fees for years 9 and 10€530



Official fees for request for cancellation€300


The cost of filing a utility model in Germany through the iPNOTE platform starts as low as $406, which includes all government fees and filing stage. Find the best IP attorney in Germany on iPNOTE.

7. The German utility model as a hidden champion


Many good reasons to consider filing a German utility model. The most pertinent ones are as follows:


  1. Low filing fees: for only €30, one can file a German utility model, either directly or via the branching-off procedure.
  2. No prosecution fees: the utility model is registered without substantive examination. Unless unallowable subject matter is claimed or formal mistakes are made, the application is registered without further official actions.
  3. Fast procedure: The registration of a German utility model takes only a few months. The utility model is published right after registration. Consequently, a German utility model may be used as an “official” defensive publication to avoid other parties seeking patent protection for an invention the inventors are not interested in patenting.
  4. Novelty grace period: the 6-month novelty grace period may be the only remedy for applicants being denied patent protection in Germany for prior disclosure by the applicant himself.


In case of litigation, German utility models offer several advantages as well:


  1. The utility model is enforceable as of the date of registration. Utility models can be a powerful weapon against infringers entering the German market while awaiting the grant of a pending German or European patent application.
  2. Damages can be claimed as of the date of registration. Accrued damages based on the registered utility model might be higher than the compensation based on still pending patent applications.
  3. The claim set of a branched-off utility model can be tailored to the infringing product. During the filing procedure, the original claims may be amended, or new claims be drafted, obviously not extending beyond the matter originally filed. For example, a utility model with claims clearly adapted to the infringing product may be more easily enforceable through preliminary injunctions as the judge deciding on the matter has less effort in comparing the infringing product to the claim features.
  4. More than one utility model may be branched-off a pending patent application. This would generate an entire arsenal of tools against an infringer, and thus contribute to a powerful enforcement strategy.

8. Final thoughts 


Germany’s strong economy and well-established intellectual property system make it an attractive destination for businesses looking to protect their inventions. With the highest gross domestic product in Europe, Germany offers a stable and lucrative market for companies seeking to expand their operations. Additionally, the country’s utility model system provides a cost-effective and efficient way to secure protection for technical inventions. With low filing fees, no prosecution fees, and a fast registration process, German utility models offer a powerful tool against infringers entering the German market. 




The iPNOTE platform features more than 700 IP law firms that cover more than 150 countries, so you can always find the right direct service provider using our flexible filtering system.


Need help with IP services in Germany? Contact JET IP now via iPNOTE to learn more and get started.


Sign up for free, and we’ll help you solve any IP-related problem.


Explore the ease of trademark registration online with us. Pair it with our efficient patent search services to safeguard your innovations. Protect your intellectual property effortlessly with our comprehensive solutions.

Other posts

The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Brand Registry and Advanced Tools for Brands
Unlocking Trademark Registration in Greece: Essential Steps & Insights
Trademark Registration in Lithuania: Your Gateway to Legal Protection
Qatar Trademark Registration Essentials: A Must-Read for Businesses
Taiwan Trademark Application Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide
Knockout Trademark Search Tool: Boost Your Strategy With iPNOTE
Bulgarian Trademark Tactics: Empowering Businesses through Registration
AI vs. Attorneys: Unveiling the Best Approach to Patent and Trademark Searches
Track, Manage, Succeed: Navigating IP Rights with iPNOTE
Trademark Registration in Estonia: Protecting Your Brand’s Identity
Empowering Your Business: The Benefits of Trademark Registration in Jordan
Unlocking Growth: Why Startups Should Choose Brazil’s IP Landscape
Designing Success: A Deep Dive into Kuwait’s Design Registration Process
Intellectual Property Protection for Startups: Innovate, Secure, Conquer
Ensuring Brand Integrity: The Importance of Trademark Registration in Italy
Trademark Registration in Bangladesh: Key Insights for Success
Trademark Registration in New Zealand: Essential Insights for Business Owners
Unlocking Trademark Meaning: A Comprehensive Guide for Business Owners
Protecting Your Vision: Design Registration Essentials in Saudi Arabia
Navigating Patent and Trademark Searches: Manual vs. Attorney-Led Approaches
Trademark Registration in Papua New Guinea: Online Process and Foreigner’s Perspective
Navigating the Intellectual Property Seas: A Guide to Effective Portfolio Management
Trademark Meaning in Denmark: A Definitive Guide to Brand Identity
The Design Registration in Spain: Ink, Pixels, and Protection
A Guide to Design Protection in Jordan: Innovate, Register, Thrive
The Roadmap to Successful Design Registration in Egypt
Unlocking Business Success: The Invaluable Role of a Comprehensive Trademark Search
From Application to Registration: Mastering Trademarks in Oman
Navigating Design Registration in Bahrain: A Comprehensive Guide for Applicants
Trademark Security in OAPI: A Comprehensive Registration Manual
Mastering Design Registrations in India: From Concept to Protection
Beyond the Northern Lights: Unveiling the Trademark Registration Process in Norway
Trademark Registration in Morocco: From Search to Success
EPO Search Fee Refunds: A Strategic Perspective on Luxemburg Patents
Decoding Design Registration: A Deep Dive into Australia’s Intellectual Property Landscape
The Crucial Role of Online Patent Searches in Patent Application Success
An Overview of Trademark Registration Requirements in Argentina
Design Patents vs. Utility Patents: Understanding the Differences in the USA
Design registration in Serbia: Everything You Need To Know
Vietnam’s Patent Registration System: Key Considerations for International Applicants
Unlocking the Future: an AI-Powered Tool for Patent Search Excellence
iPNOTE’s Black Friday: Empowering Your Business with AI Solutions
The Ins and Outs of ARIPO Trademark Registration: A Complete Guide for Applicants
From Idea to Granting: The Process of Patent Registration in Saudi Arabia
Get Ahead of the Competition with Our AI Trademark Search Tool
Step-by-Step Guide to Trademark Registration in Serbia: From Search to Registration
Protecting Your Design in Iran: A Guide for Applicants
Securing Your Innovations: The Process of Patent Registration in Malaysia
7 Most Popular Questions about Accelerated Patent Examination in the USA
Why Registering a Trademark in Spain is Important
Design Protection Made Easy: How to Register in Vietnam
Navigating Trademark Registration in Egypt: A Complete Guide
Maximizing Protection: Trademark Registration in The Republic Of Armenia
Design Registration in the UAE: A Comprehensive Guide
Designs in Germany: A Helpful Tool for Artists and More
Strategic Trademark Registration: Insights from a Madrid System & Direct Filing Comparison
Trademark Registration in Mexico: What You Need to Know
iPNOTE: The Game-Changing Platform for Protecting Your Intellectual Property
The Pitfalls of A Re-Brand: Why It Can Be Dangerous to Change Names
Finding a Foreign IP Provider through iPNOTE: A Step-by-Step Guide
Understanding Trademark Search in Indonesia: Tips and Tricks
Finding the Right Attorney Made Easy with Technology Areas
Case Study: From $1,320 to $18,285: The Mystery Behind Patent Service Prices Unraveled
How to Get Offers Quickly and Optimize Your Daily Work
Patent Landscape in India: An Analysis of Trends and Opportunities
Utility Model Registration in Brazil: Everything You Need to Know
Trademark registration in Peru: An Essential Guide
Trademark registration in Germany: A Comprehensive Guide
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT): How to File a Single Application to Get Patent Protection in Multiple Countries
5 Lifehacks You Should Know Before Filing a Trademark in Turkey
Securing Your Brand on Amazon: Amazon Brand Registry with iPNOTE
Set up Stripe Account: How Get Payments via iPNOTE
General workflow at iPNOTE: How to Work on a Global Marketplace
Patent Registration in Australia: What You Need to Know
Trademark Registration in the Republic of Korea: Tips and Recommendations
Industrial Design Registration in Turkey: What You Need to Know
Trademark registration in Brazil: Everything You Need To Know
Auto Pricing: How to Set it Up and Attract Clients
Trademark Registration in Japan: Essential Information
The Ultimate Guide to Trademark Registration in Canada
An Offer Confirmation: What to Do When You’re Ready to Start
Case Study: How We Filed Our Client’s Designs in 5 Hours in China!
AI and Machine Learning Patents in Brazil: An Overview
Trademark Registration in the UK: An Essential Guide
Patent Registration in Japan: Essential Information
Your Public Profile: How to Be Promoted in Attorney’s Marketplace
Trademark Registration in Australia: Everything You Need to Know
Patent Registration in the Republic of Korea: A Quick Guide
Trademark Registration in Thailand: Essential Guide
How to Initiate and Complete Working on the Project
A New Client’s Request: What to Do When You Get an Order
Design Patent Registration: A Comprehensive Guide
Industrial Design Registration in Brazil: Everything You Need To Know
Industrial Design Registration in Indonesia: Essential Guide
Patent Registration in Canada: A Quick Guide
Registering a Design Patent in China: All You Need to Know
Trademark Registration in Hong Kong: How It Works
Design Patent Registration in the US: What You Need to Know
Utility Model registration in China: A Quick Guide
Obtaining Legal Trademark Protection in Poland
Trademark Registration in Indonesia: A Quick Guide
The Process of Utility Patent Registration in the USA
Trademark Renewal and Validity in the US
Bases for Applying for a Trademark in the USA
Registration of a Utility Patent in the US: What You Need to Know
Trademark Registration in the US: A Comprehensive Guide
Trademark Registration in Malaysia: Essential Information
Trademark Registration in Turkey: What You Need to Know
Trademark Registration in Iran: A Quick Guide
Case Study: How iPNOTE Saved $184K for a CleanTech Company
Trademark Registration in Saudi Arabia
Patent Agent vs Patent Attorney: Understanding the Differences
Trademark Registration in The UAE: A Quick Guide
Trademark Registration in India: How it Works
Trademark Registration in China: What You Need to Know
Trademark Registration: Everything You Need to Know!
Patent Registration: Everything You Need to Know!
Patent Registration in Japan
Cyprus IP Box Regime
We Are Hiring: Marketing Director!
5 Steps to Register an EU Trademark
12 Easy Ways to Save Money on IP
How to Register a Trademark in the US
How to Register a Patent in China
How to Select an IP Attorney
How to Register a Patent in Singapore
Why IP Management Automation is Key for Successful Global Expansion
Registering Patents in the US from Abroad
How to Register a Patent in the EU
We Are Hiring: Sales Manager Wanted!
What to Know Before You Start Protecting Your IP Globally
How to Cut Costs on International IP Registration
We Are Hiring: Project Manager Wanted!
How to Cut Down 13.553 € on IP Registration?
How Technology Is Changing The Global Intellectual Property Industry
Recap: How limited IP Waiver Could Solve Our Pandemic Vaccine Problems
Why do You Need an IP Management Platform?