Not all new designs or models can be protected. In particular, the external characteristics of a product that are merely determined by its technical function cannot be registered as designs or models.
In order to be registered, designs and models with an actual "esthetical" function must comply with the following requirements:
- novelty, meaning that a design or model is considered as "new" if no identical designs or models have been disclosed before the date on which the application has been filed.
- individuality, meaning that a design or model is considered as "individual" if the general impression aroused in "informed consumers" differs from the general impression aroused in the same informed consumers by any other design or model that was disclosed before the application has been filed.
For the correct evaluation of both requirements, it must be noted that the Italian law considers as disclosed the design or model that has been made accessible to the public by means of registration or that has been exposed, marketed or made public otherwise.
Designs or models that have not been disclosed directly by the author or subjects authorised by him during twelve months before the date on which the registration application was filed are not considered as made accessible to the public (and therefore can be registered).