On 10 January 2020, the Minister of Economic Development signed the Ministerial Decree implementing the provisions introduced by the Decree-Law of 30 April 2019, n. 34 (the so-called “Growth Decree”), regarding historic trademarks.
Actually, in accordance with the provisions of articles 11-ter, 185-bis and 185-ter of the Industrial Property Code, the special register “Historic trademark of national interest” and the related logo have been established.
Such register is open to owners or exclusive licensees of trademarks registered for at least fifty years or for which it is possible to demonstrate continuous use for at least fifty years, used for marketing products or services manufactured or provided by an undertaking of national excellence, historically linked to the national territory.
The registration basically results in promotional and commercial advantages, as well as in the possibility to access the resources provided by the Fund for the protection of historic trademarks of national interest, established by the Ministry of Economic Development. These resources will be used to safeguard the employment levels and continue the production activity in the event of closure of the production site of origin or of the main production site, due to cessation of the activity or relocation outside the national territory.
In the event of closure of the production site due to cessation of business or relocation abroad, the owner/ licensee company registered in the Fund for the protection of historic trademarks of national interest is however subject to the obligation to provide MISE with a whole series of information: the economic, financial or technical reasons for the closure, the initiatives planned to safeguard employment, the actions that the company is taking to find a buyer, etc. Failure to communicate is subject to an administrative fine of an amount ranging between 5,000 and 50,000 Euros.
Fortunately, the initial proposals that provided for the cancellation of the trademark or even the commissioning of the company following the relocation were removed from the final text of the decree.