Italy sets up specialized IP courts


Following the implementation of Legislative Decree 168 of June 27 2003, specialized court divisions have been set up to hear all intellectual property (IP) disputes filed on or after July 1. Proceedings pending at the time the decree came into force will continue progressing through the civil courts.

The specialized court divisions, which consist of panels of at least six judges with specific skills and form part of the Court of Appeal, are located in Bari, Bologna, Catania, Florence, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, Trieste, Turin and Venice - as detailed in Law 273/02 . The specialized divisions have jurisdiction over the following matters:

  • national, international and Community trademarks;

  • patents for inventions and new plant varieties;

  • utility models;

  • designs and copyright; and

  • IP-related unfair competition disputes.

When the courts deal with these matters, issues that traditionally fell within the jurisdiction of the presidents of the district courts and courts of appeal (eg, the appointment of the competent judge following a pre-trial petition) now fall within the jurisdiction of the presidents of the IP courts.

The courts follow civil procedure rules rather than the rules for commercial disputes as the latter are due to be amended next January.

For background information on the specialized IP court divisions, see Specialized court divisions to take charge of IP disputes.

Pietro Pouchè, Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato, Milan

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