Posted by Laura Ercoli on Monday September 20th, 2021

Italian government publishes 3-year action plan for intellectual property

An ambitious and challenging action plan to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property in Italy: the Italian Ministry for Economic Development has published its strategy guidelines for intellectual property for the years 2021-2023, the first measure implementing the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan.

On 23 June 2021 the Italian Ministry for Economic Development adopted its new “Strategy guidelines on intellectual property”, an action plan concerning the years 2021-2023. This is the first document implementing the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan (INRRP) which provides for a reform of the intellectual property system among its objectives, and is funded with 30 million euros.

A draft of the action plan had been published with a call for comments by stakeholders, which was answered by dozens of institutions, businesses and professionals including SIB President Fabrizio De Benedetti.

The adopted text defines the strategy and actions necessary to meet five challenges:

  1. improve the intellectual property protection system
  2. encourage the use and awareness of intellectual property, especially among SMEs
  3. facilitate access to, and sharing of, intangible assets while ensuring fair remuneration for investments
  4. ensure stricter enforcement of intellectual property
  5. strengthen the role of Italy in European and international intellectual property forums.

The plan is vast in scope, providing a long list of broadly defined goals concerning all aspects of intellectual property: they range from legislation and practice – with the revision of streamlining of IPTO procedures and the reorganisations of incentives for enterprises – to policy, aiming at a stronger Italian presence in international organisms and support for Milan as candidate to host the central division of the Unified Patent Court originally assigned to London – to communication, with actions to raise awareness of intellectual property among the general public.

It is indeed an ambitious plan whose implementation calls for strong commitment and determined, constant political support.

The actions described by the document notably include a revision of Italian intellectual property law through the preparation of a draft law amending the Industrial Property Code (IPC). Revision of the CPI’s implementing regulation, also listed in the document, was enacted by decree No. 119 of 1 June 2021 that came into force on 9 September 2021 (read about it here).

The revision also includes the adoption of new European legislation on industrial design rights, in view of the transition towards a digital economy and the consequent spread of new kinds of designs such as graphic interfaces, holograms and augmented/virtual reality.

Concerning patents, one of the aims is to allow applicants to obtain protection of inventions as from the moment of filing, permitting the payment of filing fees within a set term after the filing of the application, and thus aligning Italian legislation with other European ones that apply the first-to-file principle.

Provisions on distinctive signs are intended, inter alia, to achieve a stronger harmonisation between the protections afforded to trademarks and to geographical indications, also by investigating the possibility of barring trademark registration for signs that evoke protected geographical indications and denominations of origin, and by drafting proposals to introduce protection for non-agricultural geographical indications.

A further important goal is to reduce court litigations by making new tools available: by January 2023 the new procedures for trademark invalidity and cancellation will come into force implementing European legislation, and the possibility of an Italian arbitration procedure will be considered, along the lines of the one already available for EU trademarks.

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