Italy: The Code Of Self-Discipline Of Italian Industrial Designers

Last Updated: 20 August 1997
The ADI Code of Self-discipline is of the uttermost importance with regard to the legal protection of design works in Italy, not just for ADI (Italian Designers' Society) members, but also as a pattern of fairness which is likely to be taken into account by the Italian courts in deciding design-related matters, as are the decisions of the ADI Tribunal of Design, even though of course they are legally enforceable as such.

Its text, in the version presently in force, may be translated in English as follows:

"1 The object of the Code of Self-discipline (Code) is to ensure that the creations of industrial design are accomplished as a personal piece of work, with no unfair imitation or behaviour. The Code defines and sanctions activities at odds with the aforesaid stipulations, although they may not be censurable according to the rules and regulations of other systems. The rules of the Code and the decisions issued by the Court of Honour express principles of professional propriety in the matter of design.

2 The Code is mandatory for designers, manufacturers and other operators as well as for any association that has accepted it or that has made an unequivocal and binding reference to it. All associations that have agreed to the Code are committed to promote its acceptance on the part of their members, to respect its principles and to publicize widely the decisions of the Court of Honour.

3 For the purposes of the Code the expression "industrial design" indicates the creation, the design, the manufacture and the communication of objects, instruments, machines, parts or accessories, designs of surfaces or other, according to aesthetically and functionally coherent forms. The term "product" includes any result of the activity of industrial design.


4 The imitation and the unauthorised or unlawful exploitation of the result of the work of a third party are considered unfair and should be avoided. In particular, the imitation of other people's work, with no original or innovative contribution, accompanied by the exploitation of other people's work, is considered unfair.

5 The imitation, as well as the systematic exploitation of the form, of the lines, of the colours and also of the significant elements of the articles of other people's industrial design should be avoided. The principle is to be applied with particular rigour when the imitative behaviour can deceive the consumer regarding the origin of the products.


6 The designer, manufacturer or consumer of industrial design products can take action directly or through the associations to which they belong by filing an application to the office for the application of the Code, the Court of Honour, to have it adopt such measures as are considered appropriate.

7 The arguments on which the petition filed with the Self-discipline Court of Honour are based should be such as to bear upon current interest, including those of a moral nature.

8 In a dispute submitted to the examination of the Court of Honour, other parties may take part who may have an interest, in addition to the petitioner and the defendant. The conclusions of the petition for action can have as their object the agreement, even if only partial, with the conclusions of one of the main parties.


9 The Court of Honour consists of 7 members, of whom two are chosen from the designers of products of industrial design, two from manufacturers, two are legal experts and one is an expert in problems of the market. The members of the Court of Honour are appointed by the ADI's Executive Committee. The two representatives of the manufacturers are appointed from a list of 5 candidates proposed by the Chairman of Confindustria (The Italian Association of Manufacturers). The members of the Court of Honour shall sit for two years and may be reappointed. The Court of Honour appoints the Chairman and one Vice-Chairman among its members.

10 The members of the Court of Honour exercise their functions according to their convictions and not in representation of the interests of any category. They are held accountable in compliance with the diligence of the assignee.

11 The Court of Honour examines disputes that are submitted to it and gives its decision in compliance with the Code. If so requested by both parties, the Court of Honour may sit as an arbitration council and decide accordingly.


12 The Court of Honour has its headquarters in Milan at the premises of the ADI. The Court of Honour meets whenever necessary when convened by the Chairman, notice to be given not less than 15 days before the date of the meeting. The meetings of the Court of Honour are open to the public except where otherwise decided by the Chairman. The Court of Honour is validly constituted with the presence of at least 4 members and it adopts resolutions with the majority of members present. The Chairperson has the casting vote in the event of deadlock.

13 After receiving the petition the Chairman of the Court of Honour decides upon the procedure to be followed. If he thinks it appropriate, he appoints one of the members of the Court of Honour to be in charge of the matter under discussion; he decides how many members shall sit in adjudication; he arranges communication to the interested parties whom he summons before the Court of Honour for oral discussion, possibly preceded by an exchange of written arguments.

14 Petitions referring to a dispute submitted to the rules and regulations of the Code of Self-discipline should be addressed to the Court of Honour, containing the name and the registered office or domicile of the petitioner, the capacity of the person signing the petition itself, an indication of the identification of the party against whom the petition is proposed, the object of the petition, the conclusions and a summary, however brief, of the reasons upon which the petition is based.

15 Together with the petition filed with the Court of Honour, the plaintiff must enclose documentation related to the object of the petition and any other documentation necessary and/or useful to decide the controversy. If the petition is filed without the necessary documentation the Chairman of the Court of Honour invites the plaintiff to produce it within a reasonable time. The Chairman of the Court of Honour can also ask the defendant to file a defence with the relevant documentation, if any, within a reasonable time. Non-observance of these time limits cannot be invoked as a cause for lapse if the interested party proves that the delay is due to reasons not attributable to him, or to force majeure.

16 The petition and the enclosed documents shall be produced in as many copies as there are members of the adjudicating panel of the Court of Honour, plus two additional copies, one for the opposing party and the other for the Court files. Documents enclosed with the petition drawn up in a foreign language other than French and English shall be accompanied by a sworn translation.

17 The Chairman of the Court of Honour may request subjects (individuals, companies or bodies) who are not party to the controversy to provide information deemed necessary for the formulation of the final decision.


18 Once the arguments are concluded, the Court of Honour issues its decision in chambers unless it feels it necessary to acquire further evidence. In this case, it returns the case papers to the member of the Court in charge of the matter who will proceed accordingly.

19 In such event, the Court of Honour has the capacity to direct, by means of an ordinance, that discussion, or even, the decision be delayed to a subsequent sitting.

20 At the end of the discussion the Court of Honour shall issue its decision, the text of which is communicated to the parties within five days. The grounds for the decision are filed within 30 days. Decisions adopted by the Court of Honour are final.

21 Once it has been requested for an opinion, the Court of Honour is bound to issue a decision, except that it may declare there to be insufficient grounds or evidence for the formulation of a decision.

22 Reasons for the decisions made by the Self-discipline Court of Honour on industrial design must be provided and must contain an indication as to the victory and compensation of expenses. The drawing up of the decision is entrusted to the member of the Court who is in charge of the case or to another specially appointed member. Decisions include the names of the members of the Court of Honour who have participated in the resolution and are signed by the Chairman and by the member of the Court of Honour in charge of the case.

23 When the decision ascertains imitation or behaviour contrary to the Code's rules and regulations, the Court of Honour invites the parties responsible for conduct contrary to the rules and regulations of the same to cease and desist.


24 A special register is kept at the ADI in which essential identification details regarding the contents of each petition are registered together with those of the corresponding decision. A file from the Self-discipline Court of Honour on design is also created at the registered office of the ADI which will contain all the facts relating to each case. The preservation of such facts in the files of the Court of Honour shall be for a minimum of 5 years beginning with the filing date of the grounds for the decision.

25 The initiation of the procedure before the Self-discipline Court of Honour shall imply the payment of an amount (as reimbursement of secretarial and other expenses connected with the operation of the Court), without prejudice as to any further expense, if any, as may be indicated in the final decision, which shall be indicated at the beginning of each year with a special resolution adopted by the Office of the Chairman of the ADI.

26 For all matters not expressly provided for in the present statute, that are indispensable for the proper operation of the Self-discipline Court of Honour on industrial design, the members of the same Court shall be empowered to adopt resolutions, unanimously, for inclusion in the statute, to be submitted for approval and ratification by those who have promoted the Code of Self-discipline."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions