Patents and Utility Models
In order to obtain a patent for an invention, it must be new and inventive with respect to all disclosures known before the filing date of the application (known as the “state of the art”). In Italy, Europe, and many other countries, in order for an invention to be regarded as new it must not have been disclosed to anyone anywhere in the world before the filing date of the application for a patent.
A patent allows its owner the right to prevent third parties commercially exploiting the invention, and can potentially last for 20 years from the filing date of the application for the patent, provided that annual renewal fees are paid each year.
A utility model is a new model which provides a particular ease of application or use to machines, their components, utensils and objects of use in general.
The requirements for acquiring a utility model are less stringent than for patents and the term of protection for utility models is shorter than for patents, i.e. 10 years.