Every invention, generally part of the known state of the art, detects a problem to be solved and proposes a technical solution for that problem, using in the majority of the cases known elements that, combined in a special way, give origin to a new unknown object until that moment. There are cases of inventions that do not start from something known, but define from scratch a new technology that replaces the previous one, such as the laser beam in its time or digital versus analog technology. This type of inventions are sporadic and usually mark cultural milestones that define an era, so they are not a representative example of what is considered a “type” invention.
A patent of invention can be an object, a method, an apparatus for manufacturing the object, a chemical compound, a use of a chemical compound, a microorganism, etc. In all cases, a patent of invention must comply with the three requirements of patentability: novelty, inventive activity and industrial application.
A utility model is granted only to a new provision or form obtained or introduced in tools, work tools, utensils, devices or known objects that lend themselves to a practical work, as they import a better use in the function to which they are intended . In all cases, a utility model must comply with two patentability requirements: novelty and industrial application, but may not have an inventive step, since this requirement is not mandatory. This means that it will be evaluated that the object is novel and that a better “utility” is really conferred by means of some modification in its structure, no matter that said modification is obvious for a person of the mid-level profession.
Other differences between patents and utility models are their duration and costs. While patents are granted for 20 years from the filing date, the utility models are granted for 10 years.