When a designer creates a new industrial design, it is important for them to protect it from future knock-offs and cheap imitations. A design patent offers this protection; it provides the artist with exclusive rights of sale and its associated profits, along with an exclusive right to operate the industrial design. While intellectual property law varies in Italy, the basis of the rights of various jurisdictions is to protect the rights of the creator.
However, not everything can be patented. In Italy, there are strict requirements when it comes to being eligible for patenting, such as originality, levels of innovation, and an application in the industrial field. Furthermore, if the design is dependent on an outside party’s already held patent, then the newest patent requires permission from the creator of the original patent.
Furthermore, the rights conveyed by a design patent offer a more personal protection. The creator of the design has an inalienable right to his or her invention, and this right can be extended to after his or her death by protecting their estate.
What is the Design Patent Process?
When applying for a patent in Italy, the first step for a creator is to check that their industrial design meets the aforementioned criteria. Once these criteria have been met, creators can file their patent application and the European Patent Office (EPO) will then research and report their preliminary opinion to the Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi (UIBM) – the Italian Patent and Trademark Office. Once the application for a patent has been deemed in order and has been filed, all documentation is made public, and the patent protects the design for 20 years starting from the filing date.
The application process can take months due to the various searches and reports that have to be prepared. Furthermore, even after a design patent has been granted and filed, creators must pay maintenance fees every five years for the duration of the patent. The process may seem confusing and drawn out, but its protection and conferral of rights for the invention make it a worthwhile and necessary process for novel industrial designs.