Utility Models

– Law on the Protection of Utility Models, No. XXXVIII of 1991, in force since January 1, 1992.

Filing, Protection

Legal representation: applicants not having residence in the European Economic Area (EEA) must be represented by a Hungarian authorized patent attorney or attorney-at-law or by a patent attorney or attorney-at-law authorized to practice in an EEA member State and registered for representation in Hungary. 

Definition – subject of protection: protection can be granted to cover the form, structure or arrangement of the components of a product, and a system of multiple interconnected devices. Aesthetic design, plants varieties, chemical products, material mixtures and animal breeds are excluded.

Substantial law requirements: utility model can be granted for any invention, which is novel, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application.

Novelty: a utility model is novel if it does not belong to the prior art.

Prior art: includes worldwide written or oral publications and public use before the priority date. The subject matter of earlier patent or utility model applications published after the priority date also belongs to the prior art. An earlier European or PCT application belongs to the prior art only if it has been published and the publication should be regarded equal to a publication by the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office. Publications made by the applicant within a period of six months before the filing date are not taken into consideration.

Inventive step: the solution is based on an inventive step if it is not obvious to a technician skilled in the art. The inventive step is not grounded solely by the fact that the prior art is defined by multiple publications, or the fact that the prior art partly or entirely includes publications in foreign languages (other than Hungarian).  

Unity: only one utility model can be claimed in one application. 

Filing requirements for an application: as for “patents“.

Examination: normally the IP Office does not examine the novelty and the inventive step of the subject matter of the application. Based on an optional request of the applicant (or after grant, based on the request of the right holder), the IP Office establishes a protectability report (which is a combined search and examination report) against an extra fee. The protectability report is issued within six months from the date of filing the request and a notification on the establishment of the protectability report will be mentioned in the official Gazette of the IP Office.

Duration: ten years counted from the date of filing the application.

Annuities: maintenance fees should be paid for each year. The first payment is due upon granting.

Transformations: a utility model can be transformed into a patent and vice versa. 

Cancellation and negative statement proceedings: before a special division of the Intellectual Property Office.

Appeal: a request for reconsideration of the decisions of the IP Office concerning registration of grant, expiry and forfeiture, cancellation and negative statement can be filed with the Metropolitan Court, the decisions of which can be appealed with the Metropolitan Appeal Court. 

Infringement procedure: before the Metropolitan Court and appeals like in case of patents with the following exceptions: if the defendant launches a nullity action against the utility model before the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office, the Metropolitan Court is not obliged to suspend the infringement procedure, should the right holder submit a positive protectability report before the termination of the court procedure at the Metropolitan Court. If the infringement procedure is not suspended, the Metropolitan Court will examine validity of the utility model and in case of deciding on the invalidity of the utility model, the infringement claim will be rejected.