Discovering Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights constitute for all types of enterprise, but especially for micro, small and medium enterprises, an important corporate asset to cultivate and protect, because the value of companies today is mainly represented by intangible assets such as trademarks, patents, designs etc. Traditionally, companies do not pay attention to their immaterial assets and accumulated know-how, and do not recognise the necessity of careful forward and long-term planning of their industrial property assets, consistent with the commercial and financial choices and strategies of the business. Recently, however, a greater awareness has emerged in the business world of the strategic function of industrial property and of the fact that it can play not only the purely defensive role of protecting companies' know-how, but also a role in supporting their competitiveness. At the same time, advanced tools have been created and activated in Italy in the last ten years to protect industrial property:

• in 2003 the “Specialised Sections for intellectual property” were instituted at the courts in the most important Italian cities: Bari, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Turin, Trieste and Venice;

• in 2005 the “Industrial Property Code” (Legislative Decree no. 30 of 10 February 2005) came into force, which was succeeded, the following year, by the amendments made to the Law on Authors' Rights and to the Industrial Property Code itself as a result of the incorporation of Directive 2004/48/EC (the so-called enforcement Directive);

• in 2007 the "High Commissioner for the fight against counterfeiting" was appointed, a first attempt at strategic coordination of the bodies operating in the field of intellectual property protection.

• since 2009, as a result of Presidential Decree no. 197 of 28 November 2008, the Directorate General for the fight against Counterfeiting (DGLC) - Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM) has been operating, forming part of the Department for Enterprise and Internationalisation of the Ministry of Economic Development, to enhance and protect industrial property and at the same time sustain the fight against counterfeiting, supporting innovation and competitiveness of businesses;

• in 2009 the National Anti-counterfeiting Council was set up (under Law no. 99 of 23 July 2009), formally inaugurated in December 2010;

• 2010 saw the publication of the “Implementation regulations for the Industrial Property Code” (Decree of the Ministry of Economic Development no. 33, 13 January 2010). In this framework, the DGLC-UIBM is required to perform a role of primary importance in incentivising individuals, and micro, small and medium enterprises to use Industrial Property in a correct and fruitful manner, increasing awareness of it in the economic value represented by industrial property titles and providing businesses with some extremely useful operating tools for ensuring that it is protected and its value is promoted.

 The Industrial Property Code

 Why protect yourself

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