An Italian patent, for an industrial invention or utility model, obviously provides protection limited to Italy's national borders.
To expand the protection abroad, the Italian patent application needs to be extended, filing corresponding patent applications in those countries where the exclusive right to exploit the invention is to be conferred.
Such applications may be filed within 12 months from the filing date of the corresponding Italian patent application, with the possibility to claim priority right for it.
This is possible for countries that are signatories to the Paris Convention and the WTO (World Trade Organization), i.e. practically all industrialized countries.
The right of priority establishes the date of validity of the patent applications in the other country as of the date of filing the corresponding Italian application.
The application procedure can be carried out individually for each State, or following the unified concession procedures according to the main international conventions on patents: the European Patent and the International PCT Patent.
The individual application procedures, compared to the unified procedures, can be very expensive and difficult because in most foreign countries the granting of a patent is subordinate to the completion of an international patent search and the subsequent novelty examination carried out by national Patent Offices.