Rights related to inventions: legislative novelties in Italian laws

In the field of biotechnology, technology transfer represents a cornerstone for the transition of scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the commercial context. Through the negotiation of license agreements, collaborations, and partnerships, it is possible to facilitate the sharing of patented technologies and scientific knowledge among various organizations. In this context, ITTBioMed by Edra and DLA Piper, with the support of Lendlease, MIND, and T-Factor, organized the event Patents and Secrets: Technology Transfer in Life Sciences. This meeting aimed to stimulate constructive dialogue among biotech professionals, with the intention of strengthening the foundations of the sector in Italy and encouraging the protection of industrial property rights and scientific know-how.

Gualtiero Dragotti, partner at DLA Piper, was present at the conference, exploring the evolution of rights related to inventions in Italy. In his intervention, Dragotti outlined the Italian legislative novelties concerning industrial property rights, particularly for inventions originating in the university environment. He clarified that “in all industrialized countries, the inventor is entitled to exclusive rights over the inventions,” but emphasized how this principle changes in entrepreneurial or university contexts, where rights may belong to the funding entity. Particularly relevant is the change in direction introduced by Article 65, which now attributes invention rights to the research entity, modifying the previous “professor’s privilege.” Dragotti highlighted how this change “fortunately allowed these rules to be set aside in most cases,” facilitating technology transfer and interaction between universities and industry. The speaker also discussed the guidelines issued following the regulation, which “will shape the dialogue regarding research projects with university structures.” These guidelines serve to distinguish between different types of research and regulate the allocation of exclusive rights, emphasizing the importance of a balance between publication and confidentiality. In conclusion, Dragotti left the audience with a reflection on the value of the guidelines, non-binding but crucial for guiding the management of intellectual property in the academic field: “they are guidelines, not mandatory, but it is good that they are kept in mind.”