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With the publication of the Call for Collective Trademarks 2022 ( Directorial Decree Oct. 3, 2022, published in the Italian Official Gazette on Nov. 17, 2022), from Nov. 22 to Dec. 22, representative associations and consortia can apply for incentives to promote collective and certification trademarks abroad.
In this article we will analyze the contents of the Decree and specifically examine:
The Call for Proposals requires beneficiaries to own a collective trademark or certification trademark that has already been registered. Before getting to the heart of the Call, we therefore feel compelled to briefly address the difference between collective trademarks and certification trademarks.
First of all, both are industrial property rights (regulated respectively by Articles 11 and 11-bis of the Italian Industrial Property Code) that enhance Italian excellence in the world and are particularly used in the manufacturing, agri-food and wine sectors.
A collective trademark (for more detailed information you can read here) is a distinctive sign aimed at distinguishing products or services of several enterprises by their specific origin, nature or quality. The collective trademark thus provides a guarantee function for the product or service according to a specific set of rules (so-called ” Disciplinary”), filed with the UIBM. The Disciplinary Regulations must contain the specific quality standards to be met, as well as the prescribed means of control and the subjects designated for this purpose.
The peculiarity of the collective trademark lies in it not being intended necessarily to be used by the trademark owner or only by the latter, but also by all other parties interested in guaranteeing the origin, nature or quality of certain products or services in accordance with the Disciplinary.
Italian Legislative Decree Feb. 20, 2019, No. 15 provides that collective trademarks can be registered – typically – by legal entities under public law and by trade associations of manufacturers, producers, service providers or traders.
According to the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (“UIBM“) there appear to be very few applications to register collective trademarks: there have been only 1,599 since 2008.
Certification trademarks are even less used and, since 2019 (the year in which the possibility of registering this particular type of trademark was introduced), only 178 certification trademarks have been filed.
These are privative titles whose purpose is to certify specific characteristics or qualities of goods or services, again according to specific regulations (so-called “Regulations of Use”). Unlike the collective trademark, the holder of the certification trademark can be anyone (natural or legal person, including corporations or public institutions), provided that he or she does not run a business involving the supply of products or services of the certified type.
The Call for Collective Marks 2022 is part of the urgent economic growth measures (the so-called “Growth Decree“). The purpose of the Call for Proposals is precisely to encourage exports of products with certain quality standards by supporting the abroad promotion of Italian collective or certification trademarks by trade representative associations and certifying bodies.
The facilities provided by the Call for Collective Marks 2022 are aimed at:
At the time of submitting the application, beneficiaries must necessarily be holders of an already registered collective or certification trademark or hold an appropriate title for the use and management of an already registered collective or certification trademark.
The decree also requires that beneficiaries meet certain special requirements including having their headquarters in Italy, being listed in the register of legal persons or the register of companies, not being subject to bankruptcy proceedings and not having administrative proceedings pending related to acts of revocation for undue receipt of public resources.
Each application provides a non-repayable grant up to a maximum of 150,000 euros, which cannot exceed 70 percent of eligible expenses.
The Call for Proposals finances expenses incurred for the acquisition of specialized services related to overseas promotion initiatives of the collective brand and/or certification trademark, such as:
Attention. The project must include, under penalty of ineligibility, the implementation of at least two of the above initiatives. In addition, the project must be completed within 10 months of the grant notification.
Another essential requirement is to have already incurred at least 30 percent of the expenses.
Finally, it is not possible to apply for a facility amount of less than 20,000 euros.
Unioncamere is the administrator of the Call for Applications and is responsible for managing the receipt and processing of applications as well as the disbursement of grants.
There is a very limited time frame in which to apply for facilitation. As a matter of fact, interested parties can apply from November 22 and no later than December 22.
After all, we must sadly emphasize how very few applications for the Call for Proposals are available. The UIBM publishes an annual Activity Report, which contains statistics concerning the registration of industrial property rights (trademarks, designs, patents, etc.). In relation to the Call for Collective Trademarks, it appears that in 2020 only 9 applications were submitted but – following the preliminary activity – only 3 were admitted, for a total funding of 179,000 euros.
In light of the real bureaucratic hurdles involved in participating in this specific Call for Proposals, it is therefore very important to prepare in advance, gathering documentation on time and submitting an application that complies with the requirements of the regulations. The Canella Camaiora Law Firm – of course – provides assistance not only for participation in the Call, but also for the registration of collective and certification trademarks, as well as for the drafting of Disciplinary and Regulations of Use.