If I file a patent application in Italy, since we are part of the European Community, is it automatically valid in all the Community countries?
The patent is a mechanism with which a competent authority, usually a national administrative representative, recognizes to the inventor the right to exploit, in an exclusive manner and for a definite period of time (20 years for the invention, 10 years for the utility model, 25 years for the design or model), the created invention. However this has a territorial nature.
This means that the inventor will be protected from any violation/counterfeiting of his finding only within the territory of the country where he has deposited the patent. Therefore, the filing of a patent application in Italy, just because this is part of the European Union, does not automatically guarantee an extended protection to the whole territory of the Community. This result can be achieved by using the cd. European patent that allows, by filing a single application with the European Patents Office, to obtain protection in all the countries which are part of the Convention of European patents release, signed at Monaco of Baviera on the 5th October 1973; of which 19 countries belong to, amongst which the countries of the Union.
The Art. 87 of the Convention of 1973, recognizes the right of ownership of the cd, which consents to whoever filed a national patent application, to extend it abroad within 12 months. In this case the effects of the European application get backdated, for the purpose of the novelty requisites, to the date of filing the national application. If, on the other hand, we want to obtain a protection limited only to certain countries of the E.U., it is possible to file a national patent application in each country of interest to us, but often the costs are higher to those of a European patent.