Utility Innovations : A Little-Known Part of Patent

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    Every time we mention a new “invention”, “product” or a “process”, it is very synonym to a Patent. Well, it’s true. Patent rights defined as an exclusive right that has been granted as monopolistic ownership for a certain period of time, once the invention goes into the public domain.

    Frequently, Utility Innovations had been disregarded as a type of intellectual property under Patent rights. What’s crucial for inventors to know beforehand is that there are two types of Patent protection in Malaysia – Patent rights and Utility Innovation (UI) rights.

    Understand Utility Innovation (UI)

    A UI is a little-known part of a Patent. It is an exclusive right granted for a minor improvement which does not require to satisfy the test of inventiveness as required of a Patent. UI is also known as “Utility Model”, “Minor Patent”, “Petty Patent”, and “Innovation Patent” in some other countries. In Malaysia, UI is examined by the examiners in MyIPO to determine whether it fulfils the two requirements. The only limitation of UI in Malaysia is that only one claim is allowed for any field of technology.

    Example of a minor improvement

    The patentability & non-patentability

    Apart from its advantage, Utility Innovations have fewer requirements for patentability which makes it easier to obtain than Patent rights. The following requirements needed to be fulfilled prior to granting of UI protection :

    1. Novelty
    2. Industrial Applicability

    The term ‘Novelty’ refers to the new and novel qualities of the invention, meaning that it has not been used or revealed to the public anywhere in the world. ‘Industrially applicable’ signifies that the invention may be used in the industrial area.

    However, inventors need to be attentive to the following innovations that may not be protected under Utility Innovations :

    1. Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods.
    2. Plant or animal varieties.
    3. Performing mental acts, games, rules, or methods for business purposes.
    4. Diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body.

    The protection it offers

    A UI has a period of protection of 10 years from the date of filing and can be extended for two more additional terms of five years, or “5 + 5 years,” subject that the invention is used as claimed in the UI.

    The importance of UI

    1. To file for UI protection is much cheaper than obtaining and maintaining a Patent.
    2. UI is normally granted quicker than a Patent due to a lower threshold than Patent.
    3. Inventor do not need to prove the inventiveness of their inventions .
    4. UI can protect valuable inventions/innovations that are not protected under the standard Patent law or other intellectual property laws.
    5. UI can provide revenue to governments in the form of application fees.
    6. Registered UI rights contribute as a source of new invention specifications.
    7. A good encouragement for domestic inventions.
    8. Leverage as another source of revenue.

    We believe that UI is a good alternative for start-up businesses to benefit from. UI offers the same exclusive rights as a Patent with better prices and simpler requirements. Since the global pandemic, we had seen a surge of start-ups and young entrepreneurs accelerating their innovative solutions with creative ideas to survive. Little did they realize the tweak on the new instrument can be registered as UI. Another example is the unique tools and new instruments that villagers have invented to overcome their daily obstacles. Some of them are truly futuristic-driven.

    If you’re an inventor who is interested to file Patent protection but hasn’t a clue where to start on the application process, we’re here to help. At Exy IP, we provide full consultation as well as drafting, filing and prosecuting Patent applications on the client’s behalf.

    This article is brought to you by Exy IP PTE. LTD.

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