Cos'è un brevetto

    • In the technical language of patents, an invention is defined as a new and innovative solution in response to a technical problem. The invention may refer to the creation of a completely new device, product, method or procedure or, more simply, represent an improvement of a certain product or procedure already existing. The mere discovery of something already existing in nature cannot be qualified as an invention. Therefore, new inventions that imply an inventive activity and which are capable of having an industrial application (in addition to being lawful, i.e. not contrary to public order and good conduct) may be subject to patent.
    • Novelty - According to art. 46 of the IPC, the invention must not already be comprised in the state-of-the-art; where state-of-the-art is all that has been made available to the public, in Italy and abroad, before filing the application for patent through written or oral description, use or any other mean. For example, if an invention identical to that subject of the patent application has already been realised by a third party, but never disclosed, it will be possible to proceed with filing the application; whereas, if the latter has already exhibited at a trade show, the invention of others can no longer be considered new. Similarly, the publication of the invention in a scientific journal, the relative presentation in a conference, the use in commercial sector, the exposure in a catalogue constitute acts able to cancel the novelty of the invention and, therefore, make it non-patentable (this is also the case if the prior disclosure is by the same author of the innovation). It is, therefore, important to prevent the accidental disclosure of inventions before filing an application for patent and - where necessary to disclose confidential information relating to this invention to third parties - have the latter subscribe specifically prepared confidential agreements obliging them not to disclose the above-said information in an unauthorised manner.
    • Inventive activity - Art. 48 of the IPC specifies that an invention implies an inventive activity when, for a person experienced in that particular technological field, it is not evident from the state-of-the-art. The requirement of the non-obviousness intends to assure that the patents are granted only to results which are the subject of an inventive or creative process and not to processes that a person, with ordinary skill in the relative technological field, may easily deduce from that already existing. Examples of an insufficient inventive activity, according to the Courts of justice in different countries, are: the mere change of a unit of measurement, making a product portable, the replacement and change of a material, the replacement of a part with another having equal function. The application of a previous invention has also been deemed not patentable in a field different to that in which the original invention was conceived, as the average sector technician could have reached the technical solution proposed by the second patent without difficulty. Vice-versa, the invention of a combination applying a known formula to an also known process can be patented, as long as a quid novi derives from it, consisting of a progress of the state-of-the-art.
    • Industrial applicability - According to art. 49 of the IPC, an invention is considered liable to have an industrial application if its object can be manufactured or use in any industry, including agriculture. An invention cannot be a simple intellectual process, but must be producible, useful and able to generate practical effects. To be patentable, it must be capable of being the subject of industrial use, where the term "industrial" here is intended in its broadest sense, as something distinct from the purely aesthetic or speculative activity.

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