Minor improvements of existing products not eligible for invention patent protection can be protected by utility model patents in Italy and many other countries.
Easily obtainable, a utility model confers effective exclusive rights often difficult to challenge.
Historically, copyright arose to protect literary and artistic works.
However, there are many aspects in any industrial and commercial activity protected by copyright: computer program codes, catalogues, brochures & fliers, technical manuals, technical drawings, advertisements, informative and advertising items like photographs and movies.
Such aspects can appear of secondary importance, until they are copied by the competitors.
We live in an era of information dissemination.
Therefore, it is dangereous to attempt to safeguard competitiveness by only keeping innovation-related knowledge, especially technical know-how, secret.
Nevertheless, part of this innovation-related knowledge, in particular business information, can be effectively protected against unlawful misappropriation as a trade secret, provided that specific requirements are met.
Electronic databases are fundamental in order to fuel the Internet business and electronic commerce, and often they play an important role even in technologically advanced software.
The originally designed structure of a database is protected by copyright, and even database contents may be protected. In the European Union, a so-called sui generis right is given to the person who sets up a database by making a substantial investment, in order to prevent unauthorized extraction or re-utilization of the database contents.
New varieties of plants, such as vegetables, fruit trees and crops having increased yields or higher quality, as well as attractive ornamental plants and pretty flowers, can have a significant economic value in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and in the market of flowers and ornamental plants.
However, once released, a plant variety can be easily reproduced to the detriment of the investments made by the breeder for its development.
Plant variety protection allows a breeder to obtain exclusive rights, making exploitation of the protected variety require the prior authorization of the breeder.
Topographies of Semiconductor Products
A semiconductor product includes layers of semiconductor materials arranged in accordance to a predetermined three-dimensional pattern to perform electronic functions.
A semiconductor product is manufactured by means of electro-chemical processes which include photolithography steps that use masks to create the three-dimensional pattern.
The series of related images of the masks is a topography of a semiconductor product that can be protected to confer exclusive rights on both the topography and the semiconductor product.