How is an architectural work protected?
These kinds of work do not fall within the items protected by the law on patents, but another form of protection is possible. In fact, art. 99 of the law on copyright provides that “The author of engineering projects, or other similar works, constituting original solutions to technical problems, is eligible, besides the exclusive right to reproduce the same plans and projects, to get compensation from those who make the technical project for profit making without his authorisation”.
Therefore, if the project is particularly innovative, and others adopted it, the author could act against them and ask what is due to him. In order to apply this kind of protection, it is necessary to add, on the project or design, a reserve declaration over the right of use, and deposit it at the Presidency of the Ministers Advisory Council. To do this you must make an application with stamp duty on it, enclosing with it receipt of payment of taxes and the project complete with drawings and description with the wording “right of compensation for the reserved realization”. From that moment you are properly protected and can present the project to anyone you consider fit.
This procedure is seldom used, mainly because not well known; in fact, in 1997 only about 30 deposits have been made in Italy, but it still is a valid tool for al those projects which cannot be patented because of their features.