There are several available options for the enforcement of intellectual property rights in Italy.
Only lawyers registered with Italian Bars can represent parties before Italian courts. Patent and trademark attorneys are not allowed to represent clients before Italian courts but they can appear as ex parte experts.
Since virtually all basic principles of intellectual property law have been harmonised throughout the European Union, Italian courts must of course take into consideration decisions rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, but may also be attentive to the reasoning of foreign courts that have issued decisions in similar cases. Foreign case law may also provide useful arguments, if suitably presented.
Infringement and invalidity actions can take place simultaneously. As a matter of fact it is quite usual for a defendant in an infringement action to counterclaim the invalidity of the allegedly infringed intellectual property right as part of the same proceedings. Likewise, where a declaratory judgment for non infringement of a right is sought, the right holder may counterclaim infringement of the right. Each party bears the burden of proving the alleged invalidity or infringement, and may submit any kind of evidence.
In 2003 Italy introduced specialised intellectual property sections – renamed as business law sections in 2012 – in the courts of Turin, Milan, Venice, Trieste, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari, Catania and Palermo. The experience of these courts is considerable due to the fact that they have exclusive jurisdiction on civil litigation concerning intellectual property.