Italian Patents

The Italian patent application is filed with the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), Department for Enterprise and Internationalization, General Directorate for the fight against counterfeiting.

Various types of inventions are eligible:

  • product inventionsthe invention consists of a new material product (a device, a molecule, etc.), and
  • process inventions, which consist of an innovative procedure for manufacturing new or existing products.

Anything that finds concrete realisation in a tangible result is patentable.

Patentability criteria:

  • novelty;
  • originality or inventive step;
  • industrial applicability;
  • lawfulness.

Novelty

This means that, in the event of the invention becoming known to persons who are not in a position to implement it, or in the case of third parties bound to industrial secrecy (e.g. employees or collaborators), no disclosure is possible.

Originality or inventive step

Inventive step and originality are the fundamental characteristics defining a patent: the former implies that, for a skilled person in the technical field concerned, the invention is not obviously derived from the state of the art; on the other hand, originality requires the invention to not be the result of a mere combination of elements already present in the state of the art.

The requirement of originality, or inventive step, makes it possible to identify new inventions worthy of an exclusive right.

An invention should never be limited to providing solutions that are different from those already available, nor to being a simple evolution of the techniques and knowledge currently used. Its aim should be that of solving the unsolved, or coming up with new ways to get there.

Industrial applicability

Inventions whose implementation or publication would come into conflict with common decency and public order.

Lawfulness

Inventions whose implementation or publication would come into conflict with common decency and public order. (art. 50 of the Italian Code of Industrial Property)

Categories that are not considered inventions under art. 45 of the Italian Code of Industrial Property

  • Discoveries, mathematical methods and scientific theories, schemes, methods and principles pertaining to intellectual or commercial activities, games, processing programs, or information presentations.
  • Therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals, including diagnostic methods applied to the human body, animal breeds and plant varieties and their biological production processes. This also applies to new plant varieties, where inventions are the result of mere genetic variations of other plant species, even if said variations are obtained through genetic engineering.

Duration of invention patent

Invention patents have a duration of 20 years from the application filing date, complete with description, claims, abstract and drawings, providing annual maintenance fees are regularly paid. The patent may not be renewed once the 20-year term has expired.

A patent will be deemed to have lapsed in the following situations:

  • If not all fees are paid before the established deadline.
  • If, within the second year after the first compulsory license is granted, the invention is not implemented or is implemented to an insufficient extent in relation to the country’s requirements.

Searches

The Italian patent application filed with the UIBM is forwarded to the European Patent Office (EPO), which performs a prior art search on the internationally known technique/method.

The applicant will receive a search reportlisting any detected prior patents and a written opinion on the patentability of the invention.

Examination

The applicant must then respond to any objections raised by the EPO Office, in the written opinion attached to the search report, amending the text of the patent, if requested.

If the patent application passes this substantive examination, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM) grants the Italian patent.

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