New effective tools have become available to IP rights holders that have been the victims of pirate websites offering copies of original products or fake copyright works, often at rock-bottom prices. The antitrust and telecommunications authorities have recently taken the lead in this field, closing down hundreds of clone websites, while other similar measures are following at a fast pace.
The Milan Court of Appeal has issued a landmark decision in which it ordered the revocation for non-use of the famous LAMBRETTA trademark for motorcycles. The decision seems to take the view that 'reputation' is not merely an abstract element that can be used and marketed independently; rather, reputation is a quality attached to a trademark, which needs to be valid and used on the market (ie, not expired).
One of the most debated topics of a recent IP law conference was the parodistic use of a trademark for both identical and unrelated products. Italian scholars have found that parody falls within the concepts of unfair advantage and damage to the reputation of a trademark. However, others have wondered whether the parody of a trademark could be based on a 'legitimate cause' that would exclude the unlawfulness of such use.
The Senate has adopted a report confirming the government's commitment to implement the EU unitary patent system. While trade associations have overwhelmingly expressed their favour for joining the system, professional circles are torn on the issue. A recent conference organised by the Polytechnic University of Milan addressed the opponents' arguments while pointing out the numerous advantages of patent unification.
The Court of Milan recently upheld an injunction prohibiting the manufacture, marketing, offer for sale and advertising of more than 200 types of copycat product (eg, tables and chairs) in the biggest case of unfair competition for imitation and infringement of unregistered shape trademarks ever heard in Italy. The case confirms the high level of protection granted in Italy to the shape of products, whether registered or not.
Contrary to common belief, the legislative instruments available in Italy against IP infringement are quite efficient. The legal framework for anti-counterfeiting enforcement has been reinforced through the Code of Industrial Property, which consolidated most of the principal IP laws; moreover, a draft bill aimed at strengthening the protection of IP rights against online infringement is under consideration by Parliament.
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