Patents and Utility Models

In Denmark, an exclusive right to an invention may be obtained through filing a patent application with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office. The exclusive right applies from the date of filing the patent application for up to 20 years.

Utility models protect the technical design of your idea in the same way a patent does. However, a utility model can be issued without examination of whether the invention is new and differs essentially from existing solutions and inventions. Utility models are valid for 10 years.

What is a patent?

Patents and utility models can be used to protect a wide range of inventions. Patentable inventions are technological in nature and solve a technical problem. The stopper of a bottle is an example of a technical solution where the technical execution of the invention can be described.


To obtain a patent, your invention must be:


Your invention must not already be publicly known (i.e. published in Denmark or anywhere else in the world) before the date of filing your patent application.


Your invention must differ essentially from existing solutions and inventions. It must be more than a simple modification to something that already exists.

Industrial applicable

Your invention must be something that can be made or used industrially.

Advantages from patenting your invention:

Easier to attract investors

A patent demonstrates the value of your invention, making it easier to attract capital to further develop your business.

Gives you exclusive rights

This means that others may not produce, sell or import your invention without your permission.

A commodity you can trade

You do not need to produce your invention yourself to profit from it. You can sell your right or license it to others.

Security in partnerships

A granted patent is valid from the date of application. As soon as you have submitted your patent application you can share information about your invention with your partners without losing your exclusive right or the novelty of your invention.

European patent

You can apply for a patent in several European countries through a single application - an EP application. On the application form, you must indicate which countries you would like the patent to cover. If you obtain a patent in Europe and decide that the patent should cover Denmark, you need to submit a translation of the patent claims into Danish no later than 3 months after receiving the EP patent.


International patents

The Patent Coorporation Treaty (PCT) is an international patent system administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The PCT system makes it possible to file a patent application in a single country and at the same time apply for a patent in several other countries. The patentability of the application is examined centrally.

After the PCT examination – and within 31 months from the date of the first filing - you must submit an application in each of the countries you wish to obtain a patent. This means that you can wait 31 months before deciding which countries you want to apply for a patent in. 

Apply for an international patent

We are PCT authority

The Danish Patent and Trademark Office is a partner to the Nordic Patent Institute - an intergovernmental organisation established by the governments of Iceland, Norway and Denmark. You can file a PCT application via the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and select Nordic Patent Institute as International Search Authority if your company or one of the applicants is a resident in either Iceland, Norway, Sweden or Denmark. In order to obtain the priority date from your national application, you must file your PCT application within 12 months from the national application date.

Read more about Nordic Patent Institute

What is a utility model?

Utility models are often referred to as a ‘small patent’. They protect the technical design of your idea in the same way a patent does.The main difference between a utility model and a patent is that the utility model can be issued without examination of whether the invention meets the conditions for a utility model i.e. whether it is new and differs essentially from existing solutions and inventions.

The utility model is faster and less costly to obtain. However, in case of grant without examination you do not know whether your utility model is valid and - in that case - you do not have the same guarantee that the utility model protects your invention. Utility models are valid for 10 years whereas patents can be valid for 20 years.

Apply for a utility model

What is the difference between a patent and a utility model?


  • Valid up to 20 years
  • Automatically examined
  • Slower (grant typically takes 1 to 3 years)
  • Larger guarantee for validity
  • Patents may protect processes

Utility model

  • Valid up to 10 years
  • Examined upon request and subject to a fee
  • Faster and less costly
  • Less guarantee for validity
  • Utility models cannot protect processes

Utility models - protection abroad

You can use your utility model application as a basis for a patent or utility model application in other countries. In either case, you must submit your application within 12 months of your first application date. If you are granted a right abroad it is valid from this first application date.

Not all countries offer protection in the form of utility models.

Learn more about where you can obtain a utility model

Customer Service

If you have questions concerning patents, you are welcome to contact Customer Service on +45 4350 8301

E-mail Customer Service