All new signs susceptible to be graphically represented may be filed as a trademark, such as words, designs, alphabetical letters, numbers, sounds, the shape of a product or its packaging, color combinations and shades. To be registrable, a trademark shall moreover be new and original: in other words, the proposed mark shall not be confusable with prior marks and/or other distinctive signs belonging to third parties, it shall not be exclusively formed of words of common use in the field the mark is going to be used and it shall not be descriptive of the product/service it will go to mark, of its nature, quality and geographical origin.
In Italy, a trademark is effective for 10 years from the filing date and is renewable for further ten-year periods. An application has to be filed with the Italian Patent & Trademark Office, in respect of one or more of the 42 classes of goods and services mentioned in the Nice International Classification.
Further to the ratification of the Madrid Protocol, a new practice in the administrative procedure of examination and allowance of Italian trademarks are becoming effective; among the main aspects of the new procedure, we wish to high-lighten:
a) the submission of new Italian trademark applications and International registrations designating Italy to an official examination under formal and absolute grounds of validity of the mark;
b) new Italian trademark application publication in an official bulletin;
c) the right of third interested parties to file observations against the grant of registration;
d) the starting of an administrative opposition procedure against Italian trademark applications and International registrations designating Italy.