How intellectual property can lead to better global competitiveness
New research on innovation policy in Europe shows that Italy is ranked 12th among EU member states – not the best result the country could have hoped for. Investment in education and public and business R&D has been lagging for over a decade, resulting in a continued drift away from creative, innovative activities.
However, there are exceptions to this trend. The number of Community design registrations is above the EU average and Italy remains a significant world competitor in areas such as:
• food machinery and food products;
• woodworking machinery; and
• design creativity in textiles, clothing, luxury goods and furniture.
Venture capital is still at an early stage in Italy, although again there are notable exceptions which have taken advantage of many Italian talents. Pioneers in Italian venture capital are faced with challenges such as a slow-growing economy, bureaucracy and problems with family-run small companies. However, there is also a wealth of opportunities, including excellence in design, a strong manufacturing sector and technological innovation in certain areas.
In addition, the Confederation of Italian Industry and the Institute of Italian Patent Attorneys – made up of corporate patent attorneys and patent attorneys in practice - has been lobbying the government and Parliament to ensure that the European Patent Convention (EPC) 2000 is ratified by the December 13 2007 deadline. There is a general expectation that this deadline will be met. Some of the parliamentary committees, namely the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee, have voted in favour of an early submission of the EPC to Parliament for final approval and ratification. However, problems may still arise due to persistent political instability, which may result in the resignation of the present government and the dissolution of Parliament before the EPC is ratified. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the ratification of the EPC could have a significant effect on Italy’s global competitiveness. On the other hand, according to Article 172(4) of the EPC, a contracting state that has not ratified or acceded to the EPC 2000 at the time of its entry into force (ie, December 13 2007) shall cease to be a party to the EPC from that time.
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