Utility certificate

FROM 1300 € excl.taxes

Does your invention have a short life span? Is it likely to have many technical evolutions?

The utility certificate allows you to have a less costly strategy and a shorter protection period. 

A short-term protection

For inventions that are considered short-lived, i.e. those that will quickly become obsolete, 10 years of protection may be quite sufficient. In fields of technology that evolve extremely quickly, a utility certificate can sometimes be a wise choice.

Moreover, a utility certificate costs less to file than a patent:

  • the filing is less formal: thus less time spent by the industrial property attorney to draft it and,
  • the examination of the INPI is not compulsory: thus less work of the Industrial Property Attorney to analyze the return of the INPI and to answer it, 
  •  the INPI fee is 13€ for a utility certificate against 273€ for a patent.

As for a patent, you will however have to pay annual fees to the INPI to keep the certificate in force.

Terms of grant

Unlike patent applications, which are examined for patentability requirements, utility certificates are granted automatically after a formal examination.   

This saves the costs of the examination for the search report, i.e. 520 € or 260 € at a reduced rate, as well as the related fees of the firm for the analysis of the examiner’s opinion and the preparation of the response.    

The grant of the utility certificate usually occurs a few months after publication, which is about 20 months after the filing of the utility certificate application.

If you wish to attack a counterfeiter on the basis of this utility certificate, be careful because it will then be necessary to order the patentability examination at the INPI and that it is positive to win your case in court.

We therefore advise you to conduct a patentability study before drafting a utility certificate. This study will allow you to verify that your invention is indeed new and inventive and will guide you towards the right choice of industrial property protection. 


A strategic alternative to the patent

If your protection need evolves, it is possible to convert your utility certificate application into a patent application within 16 months after the filing date of your certificate (12 months if you want international protection). 

Remember to inform your Industrial Property Attorney of your prospective in order to complete all the steps in time! You will then have to pay the search fee of 260€ to start the examination of your patent application, which is essential in the case of a conversion into a patent.  

If you transform your utility certificate into a patent application, you keep the filing date of the day you filed your utility certificate. 

Although the term “Utility Certificate” is less meaningful than “Patent filed” or “Patent granted”, the Utility Certificate is an industrial property right delivered by INPI. It can be used in commercial strategies for example.  

On the one hand it gives you 16 months to do your proof of concept, study your market, disclose, or commercialize, before if need be transforming your utility certificate into a patent application and dealing with the “Examination by the french PTO” part; 

On the other hand, if you do not identify the need for this transformation, you can keep your utility certificate, paying only annual fees to keep it in force.