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Italian design provides protection in the Italian territory, in the State of San Marino and may be recognized in the Vatican City.
The application for the registration of a design can be filed with the Chambers of Commerce or at the Italian Patent and Trademark Office by any physical person or Italian or foreign legal entity.
Within 6 months from the date of filing, the application can be extended to one of the member states of the Convention of Paris claiming priority of the first application for registration of design and allowing the rights in the foreign country to be calculated from the date of filing of the Italian application.
The application for design is subjected to an examination of the formal requirements and the novelty is not examined.
The design must have absolute novelty, unlike utility models, however, there is a period of grace that allows only the author of the design to disclose it and within 12 months to proceed with the application for registration.
It is also possible to file various designs and models with the same application provided they form part of the same product class relating to the Locarno International Classification.
In Italy there is no provision for any opposition procedure for designs.
After the examination, the design is granted but its exclusive rights can be implemented as of the filing date.
An Italian design has a maximum duration of 25 years with renewal periods of five years.
The design can be exploited through licensing agreements, sales contracts or used as security right; furthermore, a customs supervision can be implemented as of the design application, by filing an application for intervention at the customs office that will inform the patent holder of any transiting of suspected goods.
Protection is also provided for an unregistered design that lasts three years from the date of disclosure.