Cosa si può registrare


The appearance of the entire product or part thereof which, in particular, the features of the lines, the contours, the colours, the shape, the surface structure or the materials of the product itself or its ornamentation, may be subject to registration as designs and models, as long as they are new and individual.

Novelty - A design or model is considered new if no identical (or with insignificant changes) design or model has been disclosed prior to the date of filing its registration application.
The design or model is considered disclosed if it was made accessible to the public not only by the effect of filing/registration, but even if it was exposed, put on the market or published in any other way before the date of filing the registration application or, if a priority is claimed, before the date of the latter.
However, the legislation provides the possibility of registering a design or model in a number of hypothesis, despite a previous disclosure, including: - the design or model was revealed to third parties under "explicit or implicit" commitment; - the disclosure occurred for abuse to the author of the design; - the registration refers to models or designs disclosed by the same author during the previous twelve months (the so-called "grace period").
This latter case is particularly significant as it allows a company to register a model after having verified, for about a year, the success of the public; should the model meet the market's liking, the company will request for its registration and only then will it sustain the costs of the registration (the entrepreneur will, obviously, take care not to forget the maximum deadline of one year).

Individual character - A design or model is considered to have individual character if the overall impression of the informed user differs from the overall impression of such a user on any other design or model previously disclosed.
The design or model shall be deemed to have individual character if, in view of its features, it will be able to establish itself in the minds of consumers - as different from the pre-existing designs or models - and, consequently, affect, at least in part, market choices, based on the overall appearance of the shapes and not of the single identity or dissimilarity elements.
Of particular importance is the concept of the informed user: it is not the average consumer but the "expert", meaning the person able to detect differences that are beyond the average consumer.
Obviously in determining the existence of this requirement, the fact that many markets (such as furnishings) are crowded with a significantly high number of models and it is difficult to create something completely new, is taken into account; in these cases that "something extra" is enough to give a product that individual character.

The registrable designs or models traditionally relate to artifacts such as the shape of a shoe, the design of an earring or the decoration of a teapot. Today, in the digital age, the protection is gradually extending to a range of other products and designs, such as computers and audiovisual equipment, as well as their icons and images.

The components of complex products are validly registrable as designs and models if such components remain visible during their normal use and meet the requirements of novelty and individuality.

The following shall be refused registration:

  • designs and models that do not meet the novelty requirement and/or lack individual character
  • designs and models that only meet the requirement of technical functions of a product. As appropriate, such technical or functional features can be protected by other Intellectual Property rights such as patents for inventions and for utility models or confidential company information (art. 1, IPC); or even with copyright, as long as they have creative character and artistic value. However, it often happens that a new product combines functional improvements to innovative aesthetic features. For example, think of a new mobile phone: while the phone may be the result of improvements to electronic components and may, as a result, be protected by means of one or more patents, the original shape of the phone may be registered as a model. It is, therefore, possible to request both types of protection, even if it is the same product (in this case, two individual applications must be submitted
    If the registration application also includes the patent request for a utility model, the Office invites the applicant, by assigning a deadline, to propose a limitation request, with the right to submit a further application for a utility model (divisional), that will take effect from the date of first filing
  • designs or models for which the appearance of the product must be repeated exactly, for shape and dimension, to allow the product incorporating the design or to which it is applied, to be mechanically connected or joined with another product, or be incorporated in it or around or in contact with it, so that each product can perform its function; however, designs or models that allow the joining or multiple connection of interchangeable products in a modular system, can be registered
  • designs and models incorporating protected official symbols or emblems, such as the flag of a country
  • designs and models contrary to the public order or good conduct
  • designs containing special names or signs intended to distinguish the products, the protection of which can only be achieved with separate application, pursuant to the trademark regulations

Invalidity of the registration
The registration is invalid:

  • if the design or model does not meet the requirements of novelty and individuality
  • if it is contrary to public order and good conduct
  • if the owner did not have the right to obtain it
  • if the design or model is such that its use constitutes a violation of a distinctive sign or intellectual work protected by copyright
  • if it constitutes improper use of one of the elements under art. 6 ter of the Paris Convention, or of other signs, emblems and escutcheons having particular public interest in the state
  • if it is in conflict with a design or model, the exclusive right of which is effective from the previous date.


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