Luigi Franzolin: "The 'Patent Box' regulation has significantly boosted patent filings in Italy"

Founded in 1879, the same year Edison invented the electric lightbulb, Studio Torta is one of the oldest and most prestigious IP firms in Italy. One of its key partners tells us what makes the firm stand out.

Posted Monday, May 23rd 2016
Luigi Franzolin: "The 'Patent Box' regulation has significantly boosted patent filings in Italy"

Leaders League: As one of the oldest IP firms in Italy and Europe, how has your firm managed to stay ahead of the game since 1879?

Luigi Franzolin: “Move with the times” is our definition of the term “innovate”. Innova­tion is essential nowadays to satisfy clients’ requests and needs, which are influenced by the fast changes in the IP landscape brought about by the digital world, globalization and the increasing number of IP tools for the protection and the enfor­cements of IP rights worldwide. In our opinion, innovating invol­ves three complementary spheres of actions, namely in the techni­cal, legal and management areas.

Our firm’s choices are concrete evi­dence of our efforts to innovate. On the technical side, one of our key features is a very well-balanced mix of junior and senior attorneys collabora­ting as a team. Hence, our clients benefit from both our younger professionals’ knowledge of new technologies and our longstanding IP experience and expertise, combined to provide prompt and clear answers.

Working groups within the firm are focused on specific IP areas (ranging from the UPC to web enforcement) and professionals in each group attend conferences and seminars on the issue at hand. The knowledge and expe­rience acquired by each member is pri­marily shared with the other members of the group for discussion, then with the remaining colleagues in a mon­thly meeting, called an “educational lunch”.

In this way, our professio­nals stay updated, share experience and build informed positions on new legal topics, for the benefit of our clients. Management is innovation-driven. One of the firm directors is in charge of what we call “R&D projects”, i.e. new projects for streamlining internal procedures, increasing automation and maximizing overall efficiency, with an aim to provide clients with good quality at competitive costs.

 

How did things go for your firm last year, and what is the next step?

Last year was exceptionally good. We consolidated our patent and trademark work with a very impor­tant new Italian client acquired at the end of 2014, and succeeded in gaining further important domes­tic and overseas clients that will keep us very gladly busy this year and in the years to come. Serving our overseas clients as a leading European IP firm is our next goal. Selecting an Italy-based firm for handling European IP work is not always an obvious choice for Ameri­can or Asian clients, but experience shows that we are able to make international clients happy with our quality and competitive rates.

 

What are the current trends in the Italian IP market?

Recent statistics show a significant increase in patent filings by Italian companies after a period of stagna­tion. Besides a new optimism due to improved economy fundamen­tals in the country, an important incentive to boost IP protection is the so called “Patent Box” (i.e. tax exemptions on income derived from intangible assets) that the Ita­lian government introduced to fos­ter the industry’s efforts in innovation.

Recently, we also experienced an increase in enforcement matters. One of the main concerns for our clients, especially when it comes to trade­marks, is the enforcement of their rights on the web and the fight against counterfeiting. Thanks to side-by-side collaboration with the competent authorities (Guardia di Finanza and Customs), we obtained excellent results for our clients.

 

How do you accompany your clients everywhere in the world while staying in line with IP trends?

A paramount factor for IP pro­tection is being involved in the clients’ projects at each stage of the product life, from design to expan­sion on international markets. Being knowledgeable about issues and trends in the different jurisdic­tions is indispensable to think ahead and develop the appropriate filing, prosecution, surveillance and enfor­cement strategies with the client. Establishing a client-specific network of counsels in the countries of interest to the client is the best choice to ensure that any issue in a given country is handled efficiently by an attorney who is familiar with the client’s pro­ducts or services, and has appro­priate background and experience. Our keyword is responsive­ness: clients need solutions now, on a global basis, and this is what we strive to provide.