New fund established to help companies pay registration costs

Italy

The Chamber of Commerce of Milan (CCM) has set up a new project aimed at encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises located in the Province of Milan to register their trademarks. It has established a fund of €500,000, varying parts of which will be assigned to such businesses to cover some of the costs (up to 50% of the total cost) of trademark applications and registrations.

The fund can be used for applications for new trademarks under the:

  • Italian Trademark Act (Royal Decree 929, June 21 1942, as amended);

  • Community trademark rules; and

  • Madrid Protocol.

Applications for renewal are not covered.

The contribution applies not only to application and registration costs and duties, but also to fees for advice and assistance from consultants (eg, lawyers, trademark agents, and marketing and advertising experts). The fund is clearly aimed at encouraging small and medium-sized companies (which may not have sufficient resources to fully protect their marks) to use trademarks as a strategic tool to compete on national and international markets.

This is not the only initiative promoting the registration of trademarks to have been put into place by Italian Chambers of Commerce. For example, a joint protocol has been implemented by the Ministry for Agricultural Policies and the Union of Chambers of Commerce to encourage the registration of quality trademarks for foodstuff and agricultural products (see Hundreds of additional quality products to be protected). However, the idea behind this latest project appears to be the promotion of registration and use of trademarks as an efficient means to develop competitiveness.

Applications for the contribution can be submitted by presenting the relevant application form to the CCM. The CCM started accepting applications on October 19 2004 and will continue to do so until the fund is exhausted. The application form and information on the initiative can be found on the CCM website.

Francesca Rolla, Lovells, Milan

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