Benefits of Utility Model Patent Protection in China

There are many countries around the world that have a system in place for protecting minor inventions, such as Germany, Australia, Japan and South Korea. China has implemented this type of system via utility model patents. The Chinese Utility Model is generally meant to protect simpler improvements such as new apparatus, shapes or structures (processes and compositions of matter are excluded), but utility model patents can actually be used broadly by companies because they tend to be faster, easier and less expensive to obtain, while providing many of the same benefits and features as invention patents. However, unlike Chinese invention patents which can last for 20 years from the filing date, utility model patents have only a 10 year term of protection.

Disney’s Soft Robot

Disney Imagineers recognized several years ago that there is a need for robots that can safely interact with children. With this in mind, they designed a robot with soft and deformable body parts. To test their design, the Imagineers prototyped a small toy-sized robot with soft body parts (e.g., a soft skin), and found that […]