PCT applicants will soon be able to obtain patent protection in Italy directly. The Italian Patent and Trademark Office have confirmed they will be opening the national route from 1 July 2020.

There are different routes for obtaining patent protection. You can file a direct application in each country of interest, file a regional application that covers several countries, or file an international (PCT) application which is then converted into individual applications in each country/region of interest.

When converting a PCT application, you can either enter the countries of interest directly (the national route) or you can enter regionally (the regional route). However, due to their national laws, it is not possible to enter some countries directly from a PCT application and instead these countries can only be entered via an appropriate regional route.

Up until now, Italy has been part of a group of countries (including, for example, Belgium, France and Ireland) where the national route is closed off in favor of the regional European route. Previously, the only way for PCT applicants to obtain patent protection in Italy was via a European regional patent validated in Italy.

However, as of 1 July 2020, it will now be possible to directly enter the national phase in Italy. This option is already possible in countries such as the UK and Germany.

The time limit for entry into the Italian national phase will be 30 months from the date of filing the PCT application, or the priority date if claimed. A translation of the PCT application into Italian will also be required.

Further details of the Italian national phase entry requirements will be published in the PCT Applicant’s Guide after 1 July 2020.