The International Legal Framework for the Protection of Utility Models
24 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 1, 2012
In recent years, the protection of utility models is attracting renewed attention by policy makers in developing countries and on the international level. At the core is often the question whether utility models (also called petty - or innovation patents, etc) can serve as a tool to facilitate minor and incremental technological innovation, especially by small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This paper does not attempt in any way to answer this question. It however purports to analyze the flexibilities the international IP system leaves for states to design a system of utility models. This sets out the framework within which countries can operate. Given that utility model protection is one of the few internationally recognized, but hardly regulated areas of IP protection, examining the international framework opens the eyes for a fresh look at the wide range of options on the table when dealing with minor technological innovation.
Keywords: intellectual property, utility models, international IP law, incremental innovation, SMEs
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