You can also turn to the Pisa office of ABM, Agenzia Brevetti e Marchi [Agency for Patents and Trademarks], for the protection of designs and models.
According to the requirements, an innovation can also be protected as an industrial model or design, as well as an invention. In fact, if the invention confers particular efficiency or ease of application or use for machines, or parts, instruments or tools thereof, it must be the subject of a utility model patent.
This institution, which still exists in Italy, gives the applicant time-limited protection, because its duration is ten years from the date of filing the patent application. As for the procedure, it is entirely similar to that for patent of invention, also regarding its geographical scope.
However, in the event that the invention consists of a particular characteristic of the lines, contours, colours, shape, surface structure or material, it may be subject to an application for registration of design, provided it meets the requirements of innovation and individual features.
The term of protection is five years from the date of filing and may be renewed for additional five-year periods, up to a maximum term of twenty-five years, upon payment of a fee.
The Italian system and the EU and international systems allow for a multiple registration: a single application can be used to file for multiple models, provided that they belong to the same class as mentioned in the Locarno Agreement.
Territorially, as well as a national application, the design may be the subject of an application for Community registration at the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante or an international application at the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva .
In Italy the competent authority for registering the design is the Italian Patents and Trademarks Office, Rome. The application must be accompanied by a brief description of the models and photos or drawings of models to be registered and the proof of payment of filing fees.
The Office conducts a formal investigation on the application, but not a merit examination and at the end of this (after about 3 years) it grants the registration for the model. The competent authority for registering models at the EU level, with territorial extension to all EU countries, is the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market, based in Alicante.
This application must also include a brief description of the models, as well as photos or drawings of models to be registered and the receipt of correct payment of filing fees. The Office does not conduct a merit examination on the models for which registration is being sought. The Office issues a certificate of registration after about 6 months from the date of filing.
Internationally, you can file a single application for registration of a model with coverage of all or some of the countries participating in the Hague Treaty. Only States that are parties to the Treaty to which the country of origin is a signatory can be designated.
The Office competent to register the models is the World Intellectual Property Organisation, based in Geneva, which only conducts a formal examination, before leaving it to the individual countries designated to conduct any merit examination.