Valorisation of IPRs and techology transfer

Protecting research results is the first step of the Technology Transfer 'value chain'. It is increasingly important in the collaboration between Public Research Organizations and Business and it is crucial in the transposition of new knowledge into innovation.

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is responsible for protecting and managing Cnr´s Intellectual Property Right (IPR) portfolio and for negotiating related agreements. The TTO also supports the Cnr’s scientific network in effectively managing and exploiting its Research Results.

The Cnr-TTO’s activities carried out by an experienced staff include:

  • screening of patentable inventions (prior-art search, analysis of novelty and inventive step, etc);
  • protection of Intellectual Property (first filing, prosecution, national and international examination, granting, etc.);
  • supporting the definition and deployment of exploitation strategies, reaching out to/liasing with industry/licensing partners and/or investors, drafting and negotiating protection and/or exploitation agreements (NDA, MDTA, joint patent management, licensing, etc).

Patent for industrial inventions

A patent for an industrial invention is an Industrial Properties Right which gives its owner the exclusive right to use the invention (in the granting jurisdiction) for a limited period of time (20 years from the filing date).

The referring Italian legislation is the D. Lgs 10 February 2005, n. 30 (Industrial Property Code) which, in addition to the patent for industrial invention, states other Industrial Property Rights (IPR) such as Utility Models, New Plant varieties, Industrial Design and Trademarks.

The Code establishes what cannot be patented (discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods, plans, principles and methods for intellectual activities, for games or for commercial activities and computer programs, information presentations) and essential requirements for patentability:

a) novelty;
b) inventive step;
c) industrial applicability

Furthermore, the invention must not be contrary to law and order and public morality. The Italian patent system is managed by the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), under the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE).

Italy participates in two main international Treaties:

  1.  the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT);
  2.  the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The European Unitary Patent, that will make it possible to get patent protection in up to 26 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the European Patent Office (EPO), will guarantee reducing complexity and lowering costs.


Utility Models

A Utility Model confers particular effectiveness or ease of application or use of machinery or parts thereof, instruments, tools or objects of general use. 

A Utility Model differs from an invention because it is not a new solution to a known technical problem. Moreover, it differs from industrial models, defined in our IP Code as models and designs, because these refer to aesthetic or decorative aspects of a product and not to its technical or functional features.

The exclusive rights start from the filing date of the application and lasts 10 years. The Utility Model system is managed by the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), under the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE).

New plants varieties

A new plant variety is a new, homogeneous, stable and different from other existing ones variety. For the Italian system, a variety is considered 'new' if its propagation material or harvesting products (e.g. fruit and / or flowers) have not been sold for:

  • more than 1 year before the date of filing in Italy,  
  • more than 4 years (6 for trees and vines) before the filing date abroad.

The exclusive right is 20 years from the granting date, extended to 30 years for trees and vines. In Italy, the New Plant Varieties system is managed by the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), under the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE).

Italy participates to the European Union system of plant variety rights covering the 28 Member States. This system is managed by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) based in Angiers (France).


A trademark is a sign capable to distinguish own products/services from those of competitors.

A trademark can be any sign represented in a clear, defined, autonomous, easily accessible, intelligible and durable way, such as words (including personal names), drawings, letters, digits, sounds, three-dimensional features or package of product, combinations or chromatic tones, fragrances, multimedia files, provided that they are suitable to distinguish the goods or services made or distributed by a company from those of other companies.

The exclusive right is 10 years from the filing date and it can be renewed indefinitely on payment of additional fees.

In Italy the trademark system is managed by the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), under the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE). Italy participates to the European Trademark System, valid throughout the EU territory . This system is managed by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in Alicante, Spain.

Computer programs

Computer programs can be protected under:

  • patents, if the computer program provides technical functions, it is new and it involves an inventive step.
  • copyright, if the computer program is original compared to pre-existing computer programs (and/or the patenting it is not possible).

Rules have been introduced in the Italian legal system, concerning the protection of computer programs, which are compared to literary works. Author of a computer program is the person who created it; if the authors are more than one, they are considered co-authors of the work.

A specific rule governs the computer program protection (Article 12-bis of Law 633/41): unless otherwise agreed, if a computer program is created by an employee in the course of its assigned duties, its employer will own the economic rights on such computer program.

In Italy the Computer program protection is managed by the Section 'Literary Works and Figurative Arts' of SIAE, and it can be registered through the Public Register of Software.


Copyright is a legal term used to describe the rights that a creator has on his/her literary and artistic works. Copyright protection is automatically obtained without a registration or other formalities.

Nevertheless, it is essential to be able to prove, in case of disputes, the ownership of the creation, the authorship and the date of the creation or publication of the artistic work to facilitate the copyright protection.
The Law protects the author’s rights up to 70 years after the author’s death, after which the work becomes of public domain.

The protection under the copyright is obtained by filing a copy of the work and a declaration of ownership / authorship in front of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism – Copyright Service, for the published work, or at the SIAE - Literary Works and Figurative Arts Section, for unpublished works.

Know-how and secret information

Know-how and Secret Information stand for any technical, organizational and procedural information and knowledge, economically evaluable, not covered by a Patent (because not patentable or not protected). Know-how and secret information can be transmitted in writing or in other form through non-disclosure agreements (NDA) and/or license agreements, in order to consent the commercial exploitation and related payments and royalty on sales.

Know-how and secret information can be divided into:

• technical documents (transmitted through material, electronic or magnetic means (having as its object the description of the products and procedures, formulas, drawings and projects) or through samples or even prototypes.
• technical assistance (transmitted through the collaboration with the Cnr staff).

Industrial Property Code establishes the protection of Secret Information according to the provisions of articles 98 and 99. 



Information provided by: Technology Transfer Office (Struttura di Particolare Rilievo Valorizzazione della Ricerca)

Last update: 16/12/2021