A less well-known form of protection is known as the utility model. A utility model is in fact also referred to as a ‘small patent’. A utility model is generally less costly than a patent and the requirements imposed on a utility model are in principle less stringent. The utility model can exist in addition to a patent. In some cases, it makes sense to apply for both a patent and a utility model, while in other cases one or the other will suffice. Your patent attorney can provide further advice on this matter.
A utility model is available in a limited number of countries, including Germany. However, Belgian and Dutch legislation do not recognise the utility model.