On August 3, 2011, the Italian Official Gazette published two announcements of incentives for the filing and exploitation of intellectual property rights. The announcements, one relating to patents for invention and the other relating to industrial designs, are intended for small and medium size enterprises having their registered office in Italy, and set aside funds for a total amount of more than 45 million Euros.

The initiatives are of two kinds. The first one consists of monetary awards for the filing of new design or patent applications both in Italy and abroad, via the Community Design Registration, the EPO and PCT routes or through national filings in foreign countries, with additional bonuses being provided for in case of filings carried out in specific states such as China, India, Russia, Brazil and the US.

The second initiative instead is aimed at promoting the working of intellectual property rights – either already existing or still to be developed and protected – through investment grants for research and development costs. To be eligible for such grants, the project plans submitted with the applications may relate to the design and development of a new product, to its testing before its introduction on the market, to the manufacturing or commercialization processes, to the transfer or licensing of proprietary rights or the drafting of confidentiality agreements.

Unlike the monetary awards of the first initiative, which will be assigned to applicants after a merely formal examination of the respective applications, the grants for the project plans of the second initiative will be subject to an examination on the merits, which examination will be aimed at ascertaining the reliability, consistency and feasibility of the proposed plan.

Applications may be filed starting from November 2, 2011.

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