In Italy, the appearance of a product considered in its entirety or in part can be protected by filing a design application, provided that it meets the registrability requirements i.e. it is new and has individual character.
A single application suffices to apply for the registration of several designs and models (so-called multiple registration), provided that they are substantially homogeneous with each other i.e. entered into the same class Locarno classification.
Designs and models can be registered if new and have an individual character.
In particular, a design and model is new if no identical design has been disclosed prior to the date of filing of the registration application.
Furthermore, a design and model has an individual character if it is able to produce in the informed user a general impression different from that produced by other designs and models already disclosed.
Novelty is not affected:
- by the disclosure of the design and model by the author, if the registration of such design and model occurs within 12 months from the date of such disclosure;
- by the disclosure which cannot reasonably be known to specialised circles in the industry in question during normal business.
WHAT CANNOT BE REGISTERED
The following cannot be registered as designs and models:
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are determined solely by the technical function of the product;
- the characteristics of the appearance of the product which are not visible in normal use of the product;
- spare parts, i.e. characteristics of the appearance of the product which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact shapes and sizes in order to enable the product in which the design is incorporated or applied to be joined or connected with another product;
- designs, whose use could create grounds of breach of a trademark or work of ingenuity protected by copyright.
WHO CAN REGISTER A DESIGN IN ITALY?
The author of the design or model or the successors thereof have the right to registration. If the design is the result of the work of several authors, each one of these has the right to registration.
Any natural and legal person, both Italian and foreign, can register a design and model in Italy.
DESIGN AND MODEL REGISTRATION PROCEDURE
The design and model registration application in Italy is filed before the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM), the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft, the offices or public entities designated through the decree of the Ministry of Economic Development.
The UIBM conducts an examination to verify whether formal and registrability requirements are met, but not an examination on the merits of the registrability requirements.
Grant occurs after approximately 2 months from the filing of the application. But the exclusive rights can also be exercised with an application still pending.
The duration of the registration of a design and model is renewable up to a maximum of 25 years, by paying a maintenance fee at the end of each five-year period.
You can claim the priority of the first prior design and model application filed in a Member State of the Paris Convention, within 6 months from the date of the aforementioned first application.