Feverish activities at the Italian PTO, mostly for the concurrence of two new procedures, one referring to trademarks and the other to patents, which are being launched in these days.

With respect to trademarks, the first notices of oppositions against Italian trademarks are being filed following the first publication in the Official Trademark Bulletin of July 11, 2011, of national trademark applications. The opposition procedure will concern all Italian trademarks filed from May 1st, 2011, and all International trademarks designating Italy and published in the WIPO Gazette from the month of July of this year. Publication, respectively in the Official Trademark Bulletin and in the WIPO Gazette triggers the 3-month term for filing notices of opposition.

The introduction of the opposition procedure brings important consequences to trademark owners such as the advisability to keep evidence of use of their trademark, which documentation is essential for successfully opposing a third party’s similar or identical trademark, and the need to rely on effective watch-services in order to monitor third party applications.

As for patents, the arrangement of the examination procedure was completed with the beginning of the reply phase. The first replies to the search reports were filed in August, but now the system is running at full speed. In fact, while – when the first steps arranging the procedure were being taken – there were understandable delays in the delivery of the search reports drafted by the EPO and the issuance of the official notices of the PTO setting the term for submitting the reply to the objections raised, now the backlog is being reduced and applicants may receive search report and official notice in only five or six months from the filing of the application.

The adoption of these two new procedures and the remarkable efforts carried out by the PTO to streamline the respective processes should be regarded as an important step towards a more certain and reliable intellectual property system in our country.

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