In some countries, including Poland, certain technical solutions that do not meet the requirements for patent protection can be protected as utility models. Due to less stringent requirements and a shorter protection period (up to 10 years in Poland), they are sometimes referred to as small inventions. The exclusive right granted by the Patent Office allows the owner of the utility model to use it for commercial or professional purposes within the protected territory. The owner can also enter into licensing agreements with manufacturers interested in producing the product and benefit financially from it.
A commonly used example of a utility model is a bicycle, which may receive protective rights if its design addresses new and useful technical issues. However, bicycles or their components may also be protected by patents (e.g., suspensions) or industrial designs (e.g., saddle or handlebars). Typically, bicycles from well-known manufacturers gain more popularity as they carry the manufacturer’s trademark.
Another example of a utility model is an electric toothbrush. The innovative technical solution employed in the toothbrush increases its functionality and attractiveness. When buying a traditional or electric toothbrush, consumers also pay attention to the manufacturer, whose trademark guarantees the product’s originality and quality.
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Trademark in Poland