A copy is never like an original

You will find in the following a short survey of the most important intellectual property rights in Austria. For the individual case, you will have to make a choice of the appropriate intellectual property right or a combination of intellectual property rights for an optimal protection. We shall be pleased to advise you on these issues.

Patent – Innovation needs protection

Plan for a patent applicationWith a patent, a technical development can be protected. The object of an application for a patent is not only to illustrate the specific solution of a problem but also to protect the general innovative idea as abstract as possible. Thereby, an effective protection can be achieved.

The scope of the protection depends on the wording of the application for the patent, especially of the patent claims. Because after filing of the application you will be not allowed to add new matter, individual words in the application for the patent will be often crucial to the subsequent value of the patent. This also applies for a patent infringement. An unfavourable wording can often not be corrected after application.
Therefore, we advise to attach great importance to the composition of patent claims.

Fact box
  • Novelty and inventive step
  • Objective examination
  • No grace period
  • Third party’s oppositions possible
  • 20 years duration from day of application
Utility models – Fast protection


Contrary to a patent application, there is no examination of the claims concerning novelty and inventive step, although a search report will be issued. If the application is formally correct, a registration of a utility model can be expected usually within 12 to 14 months from the application date. The applicant may also apply for accelerated examination. In this case, a utility model will already be registered after 2 to 3 months. Then, the search report will be prepared after registration of the utility model.

Another important difference in comparison with patents is a grace period of 6 months. This means that a publication of the invention by the applicant or its legal predecessor up to 6 months before the day of application is not novelty destroying.

Fact box
  • Novelty and inventive step
  • No objective examination

  • Grace period of 6 months

  • Accelerated registration possible

  • 10 years duration from day of application

Trademarks – Quality labelled

FilesPrincipally, each sign capable of being represented graphically character qualified for a trademark, e.g. word marks, combined word and figurative marks or figurative marks. Sound marks or three-dimensional marks like the shape of goods also are graphically displayable and thus protectable as trademarks.

A trademark has the function of distinction/identification and thus also a function of origin. The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish goods and/or services marked with the trademark from those of other companies. This will be accompanied by a function of quality because the customer trusts in the quality of trademark-labelled products and relies on them.

Fact box
  • Graphically represented sign

  • Protection against identical or confusable similar signs

  • Accelerated registration possible

  • 10 years duration run from day of registration

  • Renewable any number of times

Design – Perfect in shape


Another mechanism of protection for intellectual property is the design. As the form of appearance and the look of a product or part of it constitute an important instrument for merchandising, the protection of a design should be taken into account if the look of a product is an important fact.

It is to be kept in mind that the design to be registered has to be new and shows individual character. The scope of protection comprises identical designs but also those, which does not produce on the informed user a different overall impression. Lines, contours, the colour or shape of a product may be protectable. One may protect a design and an abstract technical idea behind it by a patent or a utility model at the same time thus achieving a combined and therefore broad protection.

Fact box
  • An example for the form of appearance

  • Novelty and individual character required

  • Scope of protection covers designs with the same general impression

  • Grace period of 12 months

  • 5 years duration, renewable four times for five years