What is a Utility Model?

A Utility Model (also known as a petty patent) is any new technical solution related to the modification of existing devices, configuration or disposition of elements of some appliance, instrument, handicraft, mechanizations, and products including products of genetic resources, herbal as well as nutritional formulations which have practical use and give new effects. The specific definition varies from country to country. A Utility Model receives a 10 years protection.

Utility Model Law and Legislation

Similar to Patents and Designs, ARIPO is mandated to register Utility Models patents on behalf of the Harare Protocol Contracting States in accordance with the provisions of the Harare Protocol on Patents, Designs and Utility Models. The Harare Protocol was adopted on December 10, 1982 at Harare, Zimbabwe. The protocol entered into force in 1984.

An applicant for the registration of Utility Model can fill one application and designate any one of the Harare Protocol Contracting States. The application can be made with any one of the Contracting States or directly with the ARIPO Office.

The Contracting States are Botswana, Cabo Verde, Kingdom of Eswatini, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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Procedures for Filing of a Utility Model

Filing an Application

Applications may be filed by the applicant (who can be an inventor or his/her assignee) or by the authorized representative of the applicant (attorney, agent, or legal practitioner) who has the right to represent the applicant before an industrial property office of any of the Harare Protocol contracting states. Representation is mandatory for applicants who are not resident or whose principal place of business is not situated in a contracting state. To File the Applicant has to submit the following:

  • a completed ARIPO Form 3 (Request form)
  • a description of the invention
  • one or more claims
  • one or more drawings(if any)
  • an abstract
  • prescribed application fees or a written undertaking to lodge the fees
  • designation of at least one state

Filing Routes

Applications can be filed directly at ARIPO by:

  • e-filing
  • email
  • in person
  • registered mail
  • courier

An application can also be filed through a contracting state.

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ARIPO Online Service

The ARIPO Office has introduced online services to allow applicants, attorneys, agents and other users to conduct their ARIPO business electronically. This facility allows for online filing of industrial property applications, online payment of fees, sending and receiving notification and general tracking of led applications. Click here for the ARIPO Online Service.

The online application comes with 20% reduction of the application fee.

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