With the filing with one of the competent offices, the administrative procedure is started to obtain the granting of the patent in order to obtain the right to be able to use it with exclusive rights, preventing counterfeiters or competitors from skillfully copying technical solutions that have required years of work and huge expenses to be studied.
If granted, the patent has a maximum duration of 20 years and annual maintenance fees are required.
Depending on the particular commercial interests, it is possible to file different types of patents:
- an Italian patent, at the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM);
- a European patent, from the European Patent Office (EPO);
- an international patent or PCT, with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); or
- a national foreign patent.
As can be easily understood from the name, an Italian patent is valid on the Italian territory, while the European patent and the PCT allow for protection in the states adhering to the European Patent Convention, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
The European patent is not to be confused with the European Patent with unitary effect, which will allow, once approved, to obtain protection throughout the European Union.
During the filing phase, it is of fundamental importance to draw up claims which indicate in a succinct and detailed way the elements of the patent for which protection is sought.
Filing inaccurate claims or including unnecessary elements can lead to the loss of effectiveness of the entire patent and cancel the efforts made.