With Legislative Decree no. 231 of 2001, legal persons such as businesses and companies, but also bodies without legal personality, can be held administratively responsible for a range of violations which, as a result of increasingly specific updates introduced with further legislative acts passed over time, have come to include matters associated with the violation of industrial property, and specifically with the infringement of patents, trademarks and designs or models when committed for the purposes of benefiting the company worked for (Articles 25-bis and 25-bis.1).

This Decree provided an “escape route” to exempt the company from administrative responsibility: this was the setting up of proper organizational models within the company, which are aimed at preventing these violations from being committed.

Although administrative responsibility for the infringement of industrial property titles is clearly targeted at those businesses that exist solely for the purpose of counterfeiting, this responsibility also applies to other companies, which are not dedicated to counterfeiting.

It is therefore vital for all companies to draw up an internal protocol that educates all employees, whose work is connected with the design and sale of products or methods, on the rules of industrial property.

It is just as important to bring in an industrial property consultant, not only to draw up the internal protocol, but also to organize surveillance of competitors’ industrial property titles, conduct searches for determined products or methods that the company wants to provide and, especially, assess whether the company’s commercial activity can interfere with the registered rights of which the company becomes aware through searches or by other means.

Our firm has conducted this type of consultation for many years and for many clients, and we have noted the success of this preventive activity, which has prevented the instigation of costly lawsuits for infringement.

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