New bill aims to combat counterfeiting
The Italian government and Senate have approved the draft of a new bill (Legge Finanziaria 2004) that, among other things, aims to provide greater protection to intellectual property (IP) rights. The new bill has been designed to work in conjunction with the amendments to the Italian IP system stemming from Law 273/2002, which created specialized court divisions to handle IP cases (see Italy sets up specialized IP courts).
The draft bill sets out the following changes:
- Article 34 will extend the protection of indications of origin. The exportation of and/or trade in products bearing false or misleading indications of origin will be treated as criminal offences and will, therefore, fall within the ambit of Italian criminal law.
- The designation MADE IN ITALY will benefit from protection as a trademark. It will be possible to use the mark on goods entirely produced within the Italian territory or goods whose final phase of manufacturing takes place in Italy. In addition, the bill provides for the creation of special consultant offices outside Italy that will monitor the use of the new trademark.
- Article 41 provides for the creation of a national committee against counterfeiting. The committee, which will not be publicly funded, will:
o monitor IP infringement cases;
o examine and help to outline the measures needed for the protection of IP rights; and
o assist companies in protecting their interests against unfair commercial practices.
The bill is currently under evaluation by the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
Pietro Pouchè, McDermott Will & Emery - Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato, Milan
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