I have to file a patent in Spain as I am negotiating with a local firm, but I have been told I cannot do it, as I must file it in Italy. It seems absurd and I would like to know how I could resolve this problem.

It is true that the Italian regulation on patents forces the Italian residents to file the patent applications for the inventions in our country, and to wait a period of no less than three months before it can be extended abroad. This is a rule to protect the interests, mainly military ones, of the State and violation of these represent a penal offence. Consequently, the above affirmation is not all wrong, as it is not possible to directly file an application in Spain, there is the risk of heavy penalties, but at the same time there are some “corrective” ways. A first solution to this problem is to present an entreat for the reduction of the term of three months provided by the law, this is not really feasible as the replying terms are so long that it is not convenient to proceed in this direction. A different solution, more concrete, is to directly file a European patent in which to claim, beside Spain and other countries of interest, also Italy. In this manner we don’t have to abide by the three-month term and is possible to obtain the right simultaneously for all the countries as indicated. It is the best solution in such cases, as it enables to resolve the practical problem of the compulsory deposit in Italy, which does not exist in an application for a European patent. The only inconvenience is the cost; this kind of application has a higher cost compared with the national application.