In December 2016 the Italian government ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). By this ratification, Italian patent law now has a new rule on the prevention of indirect use of an invention (“indirect counterfeiting”), which is unprecedented in Italy.
The text of the new law amends the Italian Industrial Property Code by reference to Article 26 of the UPCA, by stating:
“A patent confers on its proprietor the right to prevent any third party not having the proprietor’s consent, from supplying or offering to supply, within the territory of the state in which that patent has effect, any person other than a party entitled to exploit the patented invention, with means, relating to an essential element of that invention, for putting it into effect therein, when the third party knows, or should have known by ordinary diligence, that those means are suitable and intended for putting that invention into effect.
The above paragraph does not apply when the means are common commercial products, except where the third party induces the person supplied to perform any of the acts prohibited under the qualification of direct use of the invention.”
This law – which was added to the pre-existing Article 66 of the Italian Industrial Property Code – makes reference to a list of persons and acts excluded from being able to exploit an invention. Such a list is contained in Article 68 of the Italian Industrial Property Code, which currently remains unmodified.
The implementation of this rule on “indirect counterfeiting” represents a step forward in legal protection for patents in Italy.