This is one of the main focus areas of our Firm, given that disputes are expanding as the number of legally protected functions of trademarks increase. In fact, their function is no longer distinguishing the origin of products and services only, but also capitalizing the goodwill created through marketing and commercial communication. The purpose is defending all functions of the trademark that go beyond the merely distinctive function, namely quality, communication, advertising and investment functions.
Additionally, we protect all types of trademarks, that is word, shape, sound, color trademarks, from the most traditional ones listed in article 7 of the Industrial Property Code to unconventional ones, which are increasingly expanding, like, and above all, position trademarks. Then, we defend registered and unregistered trademarks, which, although they can be considered as decorative elements at first, they can actually be considered as distinctive elements too.
In such a complex context, our Firm specializes in defending trademarks from forgery that creates likelihood of confusion on the market and parasitism, and attacking when groundless limitations to competition must be cleared up.
Our Firm also focuses on customs procedures intended to stop goods with counterfeit trademarks. The Firm supports its clients to make the most of the Custom surveillance measure in order to stop in advance the importation of huge amount of counterfeit goods.
Geographic names and indications of origin, including recent issues linked to the made in Italy issue and production delocalization in a global economy, are particularly relevant among the disputes on distinctive trademarks. After the 2010 reform and in the light of recent decisions of the Court of Justice, DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) are increasingly taking characteristics of trademarks and must be defended against undue exploitation of their reputation in addition, of course, to illegal actions that generate confusion.
The subject of patents and protection of registered and nonregistered technologies has become key, because it is the only way to defend against the cutthroat competition of products from emerging countries, where production costs are very low.
Relying on the technological differentiation of products and production processes is necessary to dodge unbeatable price competition. Our Firm has the know-how and expertise to face any requirement arising from technological competition, whether it is a matter of defending one's technology from any third-party's abusive use or defending one's turnover from the claim to stop the activity behind it by claiming an exclusive right on technology.
Patents, as everybody knows, are tools that protect all technology-based intellectual creations, regardless of the technology used, which can be mechanical, chemical, electronic and so on. The economic importance of different technologies is varied and the pharmaceutical one has generated the largest business in recent times. For this reason, our Firm has been involved for two decades in the most prominent cases in this industry, where sometimes conflicts occur not only among pharmaceutical companies, yet also among categories of enterprises, like the one among originators and manufacturers of generic drugs.
Also informatics is technology and, as everybody knows, is covered by copyright: consequently, our Firm is heavily involved with it, an area that adds to intellectual property protection with artistic content (literature, music, figurative works, and so on). When informatics is not considered per se, but becomes a part of a larger process, it can be also protected as a patent and our Firm has a wide experience in this approach to software protection.
Technologies can be protected even if they are not patented, particularly against subjects who commit - often because of their position in the company - subtraction and abusive use of confidential technological information and know-how. This secret information may be of a technological or commercial nature, like, for instance, lists of customers or suppliers. The latest cases dealt with by our Firm in this field developed a secondary specialization called digital forensics, which aims at fighting against the IT theft of someone else's confidential technologies. Finally, where confidential information cannot be protected because the assumptions provided for by articles 98 and 99 of the Intellectual Property Code do not occur, our Firm specializes in getting suitable protection through the implementation of unfair competition rules.
The expertise in this field is completed by the Firm’s experience in the management of several cases concerning the employees’ inventions provided by article 64 of the Industrial Property Code and the related disputes on the compensation of the fair reward, particularly at present when the recent economic/financial crisis forced many companies to start process of corporate restructuring that raised huge dismissal of employees.
Unfair competition is one of the strong points of Studio Legale Floridia: our Firm has always followed its evolutions and, besides defending its clients in standard cases of competition generating likelihood of confusion, commercial defamation, appropriation of merits and professional unfairness, is active in issues like the very common passing-off, which includes, among the other things, the look-alike and new parasitic practices like the ambush marketing.
Our Firm has a 360° outlook on commercial communication and defends its clients before all competent authorities about false advertising and/or unfair competition before the ordinary judge, unfair commercial practices before AGCM (the Italian Antitrust Authority), which has jurisdiction on the infringement of Legislative Decree 145/2007 (the so-called Consumer Code), and the infringement of the Code of Marketing Communication Self-Regulation (the so-called Code of Self-Regulation) issued by Istituto dell’Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria (IAP - Italy’s advertising standards authority) before the Jury and also in front of the ordinary judge, because infringing the rules of the Code of Self-Regulation is a parameter of the infringement of the unfair competition rules because of professional unfairness.
Our Firm deals with this subject when it defends companies that receive competition or administrative objections and when, conversely, supports companies that attack unfair competitors that carry out unfair practices against them.
The application of the antitrust rules currently affects companies' operation, because they are prohibited from abusing of their dominant position and entering agreements restricting competition: these practices are subject to the control of the Judiciary and the Italian Antitrust Authority (AGCM). The ensuing legal and administrative litigation is another focus of our Firm.
Copyright protects artworks of all kinds, whether they are included in the extensive list in article 2 of Law 633/1941 or are new artistic expressions. The author enjoys moral and economical rights and Studio Legale Floridia is committed to provide advice and defend before the Judiciary individuals and companies that face issues regarding copyright, whether they are about "primary" copyright or copyright-related rights.
As it also happened in other sectors, copyright, which was the right of intellectual creations with an artistic content, has become the right of communication technologies, software and databases after the advent of information society. This is often the subject of cases dealt with by our Firm, in connection with both the free use and the cumulated protection resulting from the registration as design and copyright for design products.
After the implementation of Directive no. 98/71/EC, the registration of designs has undergone expanded hugely: it has exceeded the limits of the "rewarding" protection of design works of high artistic value (where the requirement for patenting was that of "special decoration") and has become a protection tool of any product having an "individual character", that is an innovative design. Nowadays, designs are very important on the market, because the shape and "decoration" of products become a rewarding trigger in consumers' choice. This is why our Firm is active in fighting against counterfeiting by applying both protections to defend designs: the protection provided by the Industrial Property Code, plus the three-year protection of unregistered designs guaranteed by EC regulation 6/2002, and that provided by copyright where the design has an artistic value.
Our Firm takes care of all custom procedures intended to stop actual or alleged counterfeit goods also in connection with designs.