The Italian Giuri del Design (Tribunal of Design) has recently commenced its activities, handling its first cases and, on various occasions, we have already attended on behalf of our clients. Such panel created at the initiative of ADI (the Association of Italian Design), of Confindustria (General Confederation of Italian Industry), and of some Italian scholars, has as its purpose to ensure - by means of self regulation of the sector, and following the steps of the well known and prestigious Disciplinary Panel for Advertising (Giuri di Autodisciplina Pubblicitaria) - the best possible protection of works of industrial design, the upholding of the principles of professional conduct in this field, the protection of those working in the said field in the face of unfair copying and also, last but not least, protection against lacunae which exist in the Italian law in this field.

Anyone who deems his work threatened by unfair behaviour of competitors, may go before the Panel, composed of designers, businessmen and lawyers. The claimant may so obtain a public declaration of such unfair treatment in the view of the panel, in accordance with the code of self-discipline of design.

Apart from the importance in itself, with respect to the market, of such public declaration by an independent and prestigious panel, it is clear that the authority of such decisions will also be of great relevance in the halls of justice as far as the certification of facts contained in the declaration are concerned, even if this is just within the limits in which works of design are protected by the current Italian legislation.

Finally, if requested by both parties, in pending disputes in matters described the panel may act in the capacity of an arbitrator, providing a private justice denoted by the emphasis placed on specific competence and by the time and costs that are much lower than those in the ordinary civil proceedings.

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.