What happens if we patent something already existing, but has never been patented by others?
One of the requisites needed to patent an item is the novelty, i.e. an evolution, both as a progress in respect to what is commonly known and as never been made by others. The fact that something already exists and is distributed prevents the patentability, even if nobody has ever thought of patenting it, it will be impossible to gain any advantages from a patent of an already well known item.
On the other hand, most people think, quite mistakenly, that anything not been patented can be patented by the first person who has the clever idea to do it.
It would be advisable for every firm to do a patents verification before introducing a product on the market, both national and overseas, to avoid incurring any infringements of others’ rights. However this often is not done, and it can happen that a product identical to someone’s patent, is imported in Italy without the knowledge of the producing firm.
In these cases it could be possible to try resolving the situation with economical agreements, whilst in the worst cases the only solution is legal action and start proceedings against the producer and the importer.