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What can be patented

Article 45 of the Industrial Property Code states that inventions can be patented if they meet the following requirements: novelty, inventive step, industrial application.

An invention is considered new if it is not included in the state of the art. The state of the art consists of everything that has been made accessible to the public in Italian territory or abroad before the date of filing the patent application, in any language, by means of a written or oral description, drawings, a use or any other means.

Therefore, until the filing date of the patent application, the invention must be kept secret. Presenting the invention to the public, e.g. at a trade fair, on the internet, in a magazine or brochure, etc., would make a subsequent patent application filed for the same invention not new, even if the filing is made by the same inventor.

It is therefore essential to keep the invention secret until the filing date of the corresponding patent application.

CANNOT be patented in the Italian and European context as such:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- plans, principles and methods for intellectual activities, for play for commercial activity and computer programs;
- presentations of information
- methods for surgical and therapeutic treatment

There are two types of patents:

  • the industrial invention patent
  • the utility model patent.

Industrial invention patent
A patent for invention lasts 20 years from the filing date, subject to payment of the relevant procedural and annual maintenance fees and cannot be renewed after expiration.

Utility model patent
A utility model patent has a duration of 10 years, subject to payment of the relevant procedural and maintenance fees and is non-renewable.

Geographical validity of the patent

The effects of a patent are limited to the territory where the patent is validated. Based on the geographical extension, it is possible to distinguish three main patent procedures: Italian, European (EU), international (PCT).

Within 12 months from the filing date of the first patent application (e.g. Italian or European) it is possible to extend the effects of the patent to other countries.

Given the non-homogeneity of national Intellectual Property laws, it is advisable to contact the Technology Transfer and Participation Sector to verify the possibility of protecting your work in other countries, outside the EU.
The ProMISE project, financed by MISE-UIBM, is active in the University and supports researchers in the patenting phase. To find out more about the services offered, please visit this page