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The exemption from paying trademark registration fees for NPOs (ONLUS)

Published in: Intellectual Property
by Alessio Marano
Home > The exemption from paying trademark registration fees for NPOs (ONLUS)

Non-profit organisations are exempt by law from paying trademark registration fees. In this article we will discuss the importance of registering a trademark (also for NPOs) and especially how to benefit from this exemption.

The importance of trademark registration (also for NPOs)

Since one of the functions of trademarks is to distinguish companies, products and/or services, then trademarks are an essential ‘legal tool’ for NPOs. Besides, they also operate on the market, offering products and/or services and wish to be recognised for their work. Hence, it is equally important for NPOs to register their name/trademark.

In Italy there are many non-profit organisations (ONLUS) that operate largely in competition with each other. Registering a trademark gives its owner an exclusive right of exploitation (of the chosen logo/name), preventing anyone else from using it. This also avoids confusion for consumers, which is beneficial for NPOs (ONLUS) and for the market as a whole.

Ultimately, the first reason to register a trademark is to protect one’s identity. Valuing a trademark through registration means defending one’s business from unfair interference by competitors and protecting one’s associates and/or customers by avoiding unnecessary dispersion. In addition, while the trademark for commercial enterprises – in terms of taxation – is expensive, it is tax-free for non-profit organisations. Let’s see how.

The exemption from registration fees reserved for npos

Normally, the Italian Patent and Trademark Office (UIBM), when registering trademarks, requires the payment of considerable fees, i.e:

  • 101.00 € – registration fee including 1 class;
  • 34.00 € for each additional class;
  • Trademark filing fee – € 42.00 online;
  • Fees for representative office 34.00 €.

By contrast, NPOs (ONLUS) are entitled to specific concessions and elections. Here we review them by category

Exemptions reserved for npos (voluntary associations, social cooperatives, sports federations)

NPOs (ONLUS) are exempt from paying trademark registration fees. Quoting the UIBMNPOs (ONLUS) do not pay government concession tax (art. 18 legislative decree 460/1997; art 13 bis Table annex B dpr 641/1972) and stamp duty (art. 17 legislative decree 460/1997; art 27 bis Table annex B dpr 642/1972)”.

This exemption applies exclusively to:

  1. NPOs (ONLUS) that are registered in the single registry office at the Ministry of Finance – Regional Revenue Agency (art. 10 paragraph 1 letter a) and art. 11 of Italian Legislative Decree 460/1997)
  2. De jure NPOs (ONLUS di diritto), so called because they are exempt from registration with the single registry of NPOs (art. 10 paragraph 8, legislative decree 46/1997), i.e:
    • Voluntary Associations registered in the register kept by the Regional Government (Art. 6 Law 266/1991).
    • Social Cooperatives registered in the appropriate regional register (Law 381/1991).
    • Sports federations and sports promotion bodies recognised by CONI.

NPOs (ONLUS) not included in the above-mentioned catalogue are exempt from paying only the government tax, thus incurring the cost of the €42.00 stamp duty.  Reference is made to:

  • Amateur sports clubs and associations.                                                                                                                                                                                                          

The tax exemption can only and exclusively be requested for the registration of a trademark on national territory. For international registration, the fee must be paid to the competent authority, i.e. the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation).

By relying on the Canella Camaiora Law Firm, the fee exemption will be calculated by the professional who will take care of the preliminary consultation and registration of the NPO’s trademark.

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Publication date: 17 June 2021
Last update: 7 September 2023
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