First Utility Model Granted in Romania
Published in “Informa”, 2010
The first utility model granted in Romania was published on June 30, 2009 in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property – Inventions Section no. 6/2009 under the title “Internal combustion engine without crankshaft system” (no. 2008 00009 U1).
The Utility Models Law was published in the Official Gazette on December 12, 2007, under no. 350/2007, and entered into force on March 12, 2008.
Utility model protection covers any technical new invention having as object the shape or structure of a product, while not plant varieties and animal breeds, biological material, products consisting of chemical or pharmaceutical substance, processes or methods are expressly excluded from protection.
According to the Utility Models Law the computer programs per se may not be protected through registration as utility model. However, the Regulation for the Implementation of the Utility Models Law provides that programmable apparatuses, in which at the first sight the technical characteristics of the invention is carried out by means of a computer program, as well as the computer program products for data processing systems expressed by the logical running thereof, may form the subject of a utility model application.
The registration of a utility model is valid for 6 years from the filing date and may be renewed for two successive periods of two years each. The validity of the utility model may not exceed 10 years from the filing date.
The registered utility model confers to its owner an exclusive right of exploitation of the invention throughout its duration and the right to prohibit the third party to manufacture, use, offer for sale, sell or import the object of the invention protected through utility model.
According to the Utility Models Law, the utility model application and the patent application may be converted into each other, subject to certain conditions being fulfilled. Thus, the applicant of a utility model may request the conversion of the said utility model into a patent application, before the decision on registration is made. The applicant of a patent application may request the conversion of the application into a utility model application within three months from the date on which the Patent Office publishes the mention of the decision to grant the patent or to reject the patent application.
The utility model application must relate to a single invention. During the examination procedure it is verified if the subject matter of the invention is not excluded from the protection by utility model and if the invention is presented in manner sufficiently clear and complete a person skilled in the art to be able to carry it out.
The Patent Office does not examine the subject matter of the utility model application to assess if the conditions of being new, exceeding the framework of the mere professional skill or being industrially applicable are met.
Within 6 months from the filing date for the utility model applications complying with the requirements for granting the certificate, subject to payment of a fee by the applicant, the Patent Office prepares a search report mentioning the documents taken into consideration. Within two months from receipt of the search report, the applicant may amend the claims of the application, by filing a new set of claims. In this case the Patent Office will not conduct an additional search report, or supplement the existing one.
The decision with respect to the registration of the utility model is made by an Examination Board within the Patent Office. The decision of registration is made subject to the legal requirements being fulfilled and the applicant having paid the fee for publication, issuing the certificate and maintenance of protection for the first 6 years.
The decisions of the Examination Board may only be appealed by the applicant. The Utility Model Law does not include a pre-grant opposition period for the third parties
Decisions on utility models produce effects towards third parties from the date of the publication of their mention in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property.
The registered utility model may be cancelled throughout its duration upon the request of an interested party, if the utility model does not meet the conditions for being granted. The cancellation procedure is ruled before a Reexamination Board within the Appeals Department of the Patent Office. That decision of the Reexamination Board may be appealed in front of the Bucharest Tribunal within 30 days from communication. The Tribunal’s decision may be appealed in front of the Bucharest Court of Appeal of within 15 days from communication.
Certain provisions of the Patent Law no. 64/1991 as republished – i.e., provisions concerning definitions, the right to be granted a patent, filing and examination of a patent application, including priorities and withdrawal of application, rights conferred by a patent and corresponding obligations, as well as rights of prior use, transfer and defense of rights – are applied mutatis mutandis to utility models.
The official fee for filing a utility model application is of 30 € (if filed in hard copy) or of 20 € (if filed by electronic means), while the fee for the Patent Office preparing and publishing the search report is of100 €. The fee for conversion of a utility model application into a patent application is of100 €. The fee for publication of the utility model (including the maintenance fee for the first six years) is of 400 €, while the renewal fee is of 200 € for the first renewal and of 300 € for the second renewal.