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Patent: If I patent an object in Italy and then I show it to a company to commercialize it, can this latter (after refusing my proposal), file the patent abroad in order to get it granted and thereafter exploiting it in Italy and abroad?

If I patent an object in Italy and then I show it to a company to commercialize it, can this latter (after refusing my proposal), file the patent abroad in order to get it granted and thereafter exploiting it in Italy and abroad?

The described situation is very complex and the answer could vary depending on the real situation you find yourself in. With the filing of a patent application you acquire the exclusive right to produce and sell the invented item in the country or countries where the filing has been done. This means that if something has been patented only in Italy, the rights are gained only within our country and not in the foreign countries.

However, this does not signify that someone, who lives abroad and finds out about a certain invention, can, in turn, patent it and commercially exploit it. This is absolutely impossible in Italy, where the patent already exists, but, depending on the circumstances, could be impossible also for other parts of the world.

Two are the situations that could be created. If the Italian patent has been published and therefore is of common knowledge, anybody could produce it overseas without the holder’s authorization, but nobody could patent it anywhere, as it has now become “known art”, freely usable by anyone, anywhere except in Italy where there is the patent for it. On the other hand, if the patent has been filed for a short time and is still secret, in reality anybody could patent it in one or more foreign countries. At that stage the Italian patent holder has one year from the filing time in our country, in which to claim his rights, by filing the same overseas and therefore prevailing over whomever deposited the same application after him. If this does not happen, the original requestor remains the patent holder only in Italy and the third one remains the patent holder in the other countries of the world.