Can I file a patent abroad?
The Art. 198 of the I.P.C. provides that anyone residing in the State’s territory cannot, “file exclusively at the offices of Foreign States his own patent application, nor depositing at these same offices before the 90-day term has passed from filing it in Italy, or from that of the presentation of the instance approval, without the authorization from the Ministry of productive activities”.
The reason for this prohibition is because all patents are pre-emptively assessed by the Defence Ministry, who could decide to purchase the ones of interest to him: this is why the above-mentioned Art. 198 is not applied to the registration of a design or model, as the forms are not relevant to the national defence. If the citizen, for his own reasons, does not want to file a patent in Italy, he can nevertheless, ask for an authorization to do it and after 90 days he can file anywhere he likes.
On the other hand, it s possible to directly deposit a European or International patent, designating, besides Italy, also other countries at the same time: in this case the only obligation is to carry out the filing at the Ministry in Rome, enclosing also an Italian translation of the text of the patent.
It is important to bear in mind that violation of the Art. 198 of the I.P.C. is an offence which, unless more serious offences are perceived, is punishable with a penalty not inferior to € 77.47 or with the arrest, whilst if the violation happens when the authorization has been denied, the arrest of no less than one year is applicable.