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IP A-Z

Like most areas of law, Intellectual Property can appear daunting and complex. There are a great many practice areas, subjects and procedures. The SH&P “A-Z” Intellectual Property glossary is a free and easy to use glossary of legal terms commonly used and associated with IP. We hope that it will help you better understand this topic. All of the entries include contact details for SH&P expert advisers. Alternatively, you can request a free, no obligation, IP Consultation and Review here if you require more information or have a particular issue you would like us to help you with.

The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) is the official government organisation responsible for all intellectual property in the United Kingdom.

The organisation was created in 1852 and was formerly known as “The Patent Office” until 2nd April 2007.  The organisation’s original function was to grant patents. It is now responsible for intellectual property policy, the granting and enforcement of UK trade marks, patents and designs, as well as copyright matters.

The UK IPO has over 1000 specialist staff based in offices in Newport (South Wales) and London. Their website can be viewed here.

  • Ann Lynch

    Brands & Trade Marks

    Ann joined the firm in 2014 bringing with her almost 20 years’ experience in…
  • Ceili Williams

    Inventions & Innovations, Product Design & Copyright

    Ceili enjoys the complexities of the role of a patent attorney: getting to grips…
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  • David Powell

    Brands & Trade Marks, Domain Names, Websites & E-commerce

    David is a Trade Mark Attorney and a partner of SH&P, which he joined…
  • Joanne Heaton

    Inventions & Innovations

    Jo joined the firm as a qualified attorney at the beginning of 2000. She…
  • Jon Welfoot

    Brands & Trade Marks

    Jon joined the firm in 2000. He is an experienced Trade Mark Attorney and…
  • Jonathan Sutton

    Brands & Trade Marks

    Jon has been with SH&P since 1996. Prior to joining SH&P Jon worked as…
  • Peter Cornford

    Brands & Trade Marks, Product Design & Copyright

    Peter has worked as a trade mark lawyer for almost 30 years. His experience…
  • Robin Webster

    Brands & Trade Marks, Domain Names, Websites & E-commerce

    After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cardiff University in 1992, Robin…
  • Julie Gonard

    Brands & Trade Marks

    Julie joined SH&P in 2016, shortly after qualifying with distinction as a UK and…
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A utility model (sometimes referred to as a petty patent) is an intellectual property right that protects inventions.

Utility models are not available in the United Kingdom, but they do exist in quite a few European countries – including Germany (where they are called Gebrauchsmusters), Italy and Spain – and a number of other countries around the world, including China and Japan. They are similar to patents in that, in return for giving a clear and complete disclosure of their invention, the owner of a utility model has the right to stop others making or using the same invention in the country concerned.

While the provisions relating to utility models vary according to the country, the following general points are notable:-

  • Utility models usually have a shorter maximum term than patents – typically ranging from 6 to 15 years.Like patents, they are subject to renewal fees.
  • While most countries require that the invention is new, some also specify the need for an inventive step. Local novelty, rather than absolute (i.e. worldwide) novelty, is sufficient in some countries.
  • The examination of applications for utility models is usually less demanding than it is for patents. In some countries, applications are examined only to check that they comply with formality requirements and the utility model is then granted.
  • Certain types of inventions may be excluded from utility model protection – for example, processes cannot be protected in many countries.

A patent attorney is able to advise on the protection and enforcement of utility models.

  • Ceili Williams

    Inventions & Innovations, Product Design & Copyright

    Ceili enjoys the complexities of the role of a patent attorney: getting to grips…
  •  

  • Joanne Heaton

    Inventions & Innovations

    Jo joined the firm as a qualified attorney at the beginning of 2000. She…
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