UTILITY MODEL PATENT
A Utility Model Patent application can only be the subject of products provided with physical form (such as instruments, tools or objects of general use, machines, equipment, etc.) provided that they are suitable to confer particular effectiveness or convenience of application or use. Protectable findings include new models consisting of particular configurations, provisions, configurations or combinations of parts (pursuant to article 82 of the Italian Industrial Property Code).
The requirements for access to protection are common to those laid down for the Industrial invention patent, but unlike the industrial invention patent, the utility model patent evaluates in a less stringent manner the requirement of inventive step and it is sufficient that the subject-matter of the invention be provided with a certain utility, effectiveness or convenience of use with respect to the prior art subject-matter.
The patenting procedure begins with the filing of a utility model patent application before the Italian Patent and Trademarks Office (UIBM) or before 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.
Utility model patent applications are not subject to a substantive examination, but solely to an examination of formal requirements (such as for example the payment of filing fees, the designation of the proprietor and of the inventor/s), and are granted with a presumption of validity.
The Utility Model Patent has a maximum duration of ten years from the date of filing.
The Utility Model Patent is subject to a single maintenance fee, at the end of the fifth year from filing.
Should the proprietor of the patent fail to pay such maintenance fee, the patent expires at the end of the fifth year from filing and the subject-matter of the patent becomes freely reproducible.