INDUSTRIAL INVENTION PATENT
An industrial invention patent application can be the subject-matter of products (such as for example objects, instruments, machines, equipment, chemicals, etc.) and processes (such as industrial production processes, industrial processes, methods for operating equipment, methods for using a substance, etc.).
The patenting procedure begins with filing an industrial invention patent application before the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM) or before the Chambers of Commerce, or by electronic means.
The patent application shall be kept secret for the first eighteen months from the date of filing (period which may be reduced to 90 days if requested at the time of filing). After this period, the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office makes the patent application accessible to the public, which can therefore be viewed by anyone, in order to confer on the proprietor the monopoly effects thereof.
For applications filed on or after 1st July 2008, the UIBM instructs the European Patent Office to conduct a priority search aimed at tracing prior art documents relating to the invention subject of the patent application in question and, in light of this search, issue a Search Report and a written opinion in which it gives an initial opinion on the patentability requirements(in particular novelty and inventive step) of the invention which is to be patented.
The Search Report and Written Opinion are sent to the proprietor of the application (or to the representative thereof if appointed) within approximately nine months of the date of filing of the application.
Should the examiner raise objects to the patentability of the invention in the aforementioned Search Report, these objections must be responded to within a deadline (currently 21 months from the date of filing) set by the UIBM in a Ministerial Letter sent alongside the Search Report.
The UIBM then examines the outcome of the Search Report and the arguments raised in response to any objections raised in the Written Opinion, and decides whether to grant the patent application, or to make further observations to the applicant, or to reject the application.
Normally, an industrial invention patent application is granted in about two and a half years from the date of filing, but it is effective from the date of publication of the application or notification to the alleged infringing party.
The Industrial invention patent has a maximum duration of twenty years from the date of filing.
The industrial invention patent is subject to an annual maintenance fee.
Should the proprietor of the patent cease to pay this maintenance fee, the patent expires and the subject-matter of the patent becomes freely reproducible.