The Italian Industrial Property Code’s Reform: Abolishing The Professor’s Privilege

By Paola Furiosi and Giulia Gialletti

A significant milestone for the world of Italian Industrial Property was reached on the 18th of July, with the approval by the Chamber of Deputies of the amendments to the Italian Industrial Property Code. This reform represents a further step forward within the Italian Strategic Intervention Guidelines on Industrial Property for the 2021-2023 triennium, with the aim of enhancing the Industrial Property system and strengthening the competitiveness of our country. The measure aims to pursue a dual objective: (i) to enhance the measures for protecting Italian Industrial Property Rights, and (ii) to simplify the administrative process through the digitalisation of related procedures. Among the various salient points introduced by the Reform, we can highlight:  

  • firstly, the abolition of the “Professor’s Privilege”. Specifically, the ownership of inventions created by researchers in the field of public research (universities and research centres) will no longer be attributed to the researchers (by virtue of the so-called “Professor’s Privilege”). With the reform, the rights to such inventions will initially be assigned to the affiliated institution and, only in the case of inertia or lack of interest on the part of the latter, to the researcher. This change, which aligns the Italian system with those of other European Union countries, aims to facilitate technology transfer, promoting collaboration between research and industry;
  • the system of double patenting, which ensures that the Italian patent maintains its effects even if a European patent valid in Italy or a unitary patent has been granted for the same invention, with the same filing date or priority;
  • the possibility of obtaining temporary protection for designs presented at trade fairs and exhibitions, making the legal protection date back to the date of exhibition, provided that the related registration application has been filed within six months;
  • the strengthening of the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin, through the prohibition of registration of evocative, usurping or imitative trademarks;
  • the possibility to pay the patent application filing fees not only at the time of filing, but also subsequently, within a month. This provision is also aimed at aligning Italy with what is already permitted in other European countries, as well as the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The improvements and progress contained in the Reform represent a significant incentive to further enhance the Industrial Property sector in Italy. Now, however, the most important and anticipated phase: the actual implementation.

Let’s Talk

For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Andrea Lensi Orlandi

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti


Paola Furiosi

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti