A utility model protects functional aspects of an invention and, once issued, lasts for 10 years from its filing date. After filing this application, you may want to file a PCT international application to test marketplace interest in your invention. It will give you up to a year of additional “patent pending” status. By doing this, you could benefit from as much as 21 years of combined priority registered utility model / patent pending status.
Novel, commercially usable inventions of lesser inventive merit than patents may be protected for a maximum period of 10 years. Examination is only for formal requirements, not for novelty and inventive merit; however, a search concerning the prior art is carried out to which the scope of protection claimed may be adapted.
If desired, a utility model application may be converted into a patent application prior to publication. Otherwise analogous provisions as to patents and patent applications apply.