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An introductory course on Industrial Property aiming at explaining how patents, designs and trademarks can be used to protect creative ideas and investments in innovation in Italy and abroad.

Course description

The course aims at providing the basics of Industrial Property, comprising patents, designs and trademarks.

The patent system aims at supporting the technical progress and the private investments in research, allowing the owner to recover the costs borne for obtaining the invention. A patent can be considered as an incentive to disclose an invention to the public. It grants its owner the right to prevent others from producing the invention, thus creating a monopoly right lasting a maximum of 20 years.

After the lapse of the patent the invention becomes available to the public and everybody can exploit it.

The course tackles concepts like novelty and inventive step, which are at the base of the validity of a patent, how an invention can be protected by a patent by providing adequate claims, how the right to a patent can be transferred from an inventor-employee to his company. Filing and grant procedures are also dealt with.

A design right can validly protect the shape of an object and designers should be aware of the possibility of protecting their creations by registering a design. The course introduces to concepts like novelty, individual character and grace period, which are fundamental for design protection. The course also deals with non registered designs, which are a very useful tool for the protection of fashion creations, which become obsolete after a season.

A trademark is a sign, normally a word, a name or a symbol, to be placed on a product to identify and distinguish its producer from others. An advertising campaign may require a considerable economic effort, but what are the criteria allowing to choose a valid trademark? The course explains the difference between different kinds of trademarks and it deals with the requirements for their validity.

Then the course affords the legal protection of the IP rights and their licensing.

The IP enforcement is one of the most crucial moments for an IP asset and shall be carefully driven by the litigators in order to avoid the risk to prejudice all the investments already made. The course therefore will indicate the various strategic options and procedural tools for a cost effective enforcement strategy.

The course will also highlight the most critical clauses to be considered in tech transfer and licensing also in view of the complex antitrust issues related to these kind of agreements.

The last part of the MOOC has been realized by the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of Politecnico di Milano and aims to introduce the Research Valorisation framework in our university, explaining procedures available for researchers, teachers and students who want to transfer their research results, technologies and ideas outside the University or find external partners to develop their innovation.

Intended Learning Outcomes


No specific prerequisite knowledge is required.


Forum section is available. The Forum is designed to allow students to exchange opinions and discuss open questions.

Topic outline

  • Week 0 - Introduction to the course

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 1 - Introduction and patentability

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 2 - Grant procedure

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Week 3 - Design, Trade Marks, Licesing and Enforcement

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Discover research exploitation at Politecnico di Milano

    Not available unless: You are a(n) Student
  • Additional resources


Your final grade for the course will be based on the results of your answers to the graded quizzes. You have unlimited attempts at each quiz, but you must wait 5 minutes before you can try again. You will have successfully completed the course if you achieve 60% (or more) of the total course score. The maximum score possible for each quiz is given at the top of the quiz. You can see your score in the quiz on your last attempt or on the 'Grades' page.

Certificate of accomplishment

You must be registered in POK through Politecnico di Milano personal account to obtain the Certificate of Accomplishment. It will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the graded quizzes and filling the final survey. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from Politecnico di Milano web services. The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

Information about fees and access to materials

You can access the course absolutely free of charge and completely online.

Course faculty

Antonio Salerno

Antonio Salerno

Antonio Salerno graduated magna cum laude in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Genova in 1989. After some years as systems engineer at IBM, in 1996 he took a Ph.D. in Energetics at the University Politecnico di Milano.

From 1996 to 1998 he was Research Assistant at the Institut für Kunststoffprüfung und Kunststoffkunde of the University of Stuttagrt in Germany.
From 1998 to 2000 he was Auxiliary Agent at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
From 2000 he is at the Department of Energy of the University Politecnico di Milano, where he is now Associate professor and lecturer of Applied thermodynamics and heat transfer.
In 2006 he passed the Italian Qualifying Exam to become Italian patent attorney and in 2014 he became European patent attorney after having passed the European Qualifying Exam.
Form 2007 he is director of the Industrial Property patents and trademark courses at the University Politecnico di Milano, preparing for the Italian Qualifying Exam as patent and trademark attorney.

Co-autor of a book in 2011: M.e F. Andreolini, S. Marzocchi, A. Salerno Marchi e brevetti, guida teorico-pratica alla Proprietà Industriale, Gruppo Editoriale Esselibri-Simone.

In 2008 and in 2015 he attended the Praktika Intern at the European Patent Office in Munich and in The Hague.
In 2016 he was appointed Technical expert in IP matters by the Court of Bolzano.
He is consultant of several companies in the field of Industrial Property.

Giovanni F. Casucci

Giovanni F. Casucci

Giovanni F. Casucci graduated magna cum laude in Industrial Property at the University of Perugia in 1990, Faculty of Law. Litigator specialized in Industrial Property (Patents, Trade Secrets Designs, Trademarks, Unfair Competition and Tech Transfer).

Since 2001, Faculty’s member at MIP-Politecnico of Milano for the IP issues.
Since 2008, Lecturer at the ICE (Italian Trade Commission) on all institutional educational programs for the IP issues.
Since 2008, Co-Director of the Master ICE-IdeaCina about IP rights and China.

Author of the “Trade Fairs Anti-Counterfeiting Regulation” implemented at the trade fairs of Milano and Verona and full coordinator of it from 2002 to 2011.

2011 - 2014, Coordinator of the Commissions “Design” and “Trade Fairs” at CNAC Consiglio Nazionale Anti Contraffazione (the Italian Authority for Anti Counterfeiting).
2007 - 2011, external IP expert at the program IPR2– Beijing.

Since 2012, Director of Centro Studi Anticontraffazione, Milano.
Since 2013, external IP expert at the program IPR SME HELPDESK – Beijing.
Since 2014, external IP expert at the program IPkey– Beijing.

Riccardo Bertacco

Riccardo Bertacco

Riccardo Bertacco got his degree in Electronic Engineering at Politecnico di Milano in 1994. In november 1999 he got a permanent position (researcher) at the Physics Department of Politecnico di Milano, and in february 2000 the PhD in Physics with a thesis on “Spin polarized electron spectroscopies from magnetic thin films and surfaces”. In march 2005 he has been appointed as Associated Professor of Physics at Politecnico di Milano. Since April 2018 he is Full Professor of Physicis at Politecnico di Milano. In 2001 he worked three months at the UMR137 CNRS-Thales (Paris), on Pulsed Laser Deposition of thin films and characterization by XPS in the group of A. Fert, Nobel prize for Physiscs 2007. In 2005 he spent one month as invited professor at the laboratory LMOV, CNRS-Université de Versailles (France). He gives annual courses of classical physics, an advanced course on “Nanomagnetism and Spintronics” at Politecnico di Milano and lectures in PhD schools. He participated in many schools and conferences with contributed talk and invited talks. He is author of 137 papers in international journals, two chapters of books, 7 patent applications and two granted patents. Current H index: 26 (Scopus). Referee of prestigious journals (Nature Nanotechnology, Phys. Rev.Lett., Appl. Phys Lett, Phys. Review B). Member of the board of the Italian Association of Magnetism (AIMAGN), of the Task Force on Research Infrastructures of CESAER and of the Italian Network for Micro and Nano Fabrication (It-fab).

Riccardo Bertacco leads the Nanomagnetim for Biology and Spintronics group (NaBiS) of the Department of Physics and is the deputy director of the clean-room (PoliFab) for micro and nanofabrication of POLIMI.

Technology Transfer Office

Servizio Valorizzazione Ricerca, i.e. Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is Politecnico di Milano area devoted to the enhancement of scientific research towards industrial application.

TTO mission is to support Politecnico researchers, staff and students in translating the knowledge achieved with research activity from the lab scale to the market, in order to create impact for the general society.

We offer technical and legal skills aimed to maximize the chances of commercial exploitation of any kind of innovative result in the fields of engineering, architecture and design.

Vittoria Roiati

Vittoria Roiati

Vittoria Roiati has a master degree and a Ph.D in Engineering Physics conferred at Politecnico di Milano.

At TTO, she focuses mainly on the prior art search and IPR protection and valorisation in the areas of physics, nanotechnologies, electronics and telecommunications.

Silvia Bianco

Silvia Bianco

Silvia Bianco holds a master degree in Industrial Design. Following her degree she moved to UK where she gained a certification in Digital Marketing and had the opportunity to consolidate her experience in marketing and project management by working for two main UK Universities: The University of Sheffield and The University College London.

At TTO, she is in charge of the business intelligence and networking activities aimed at identifying research exploitation opportunities. She gives also support in reviewing licensing and confidentiality agreements.

Annalisa Balloi

Annalisa Balloi

Annalisa Balloi in 2009 obtained her Ph.D. in Microbial Biotechnology. Subsequently, she worked as a researcher at the Università degli Studi di Milano where, by exploiting the results of her research, she founded an academic spin-off. Thanks to her experience as researcher and star-upper, she gained significant expertise in Knowledge and Technology Transfer. Annalisa joined the Technology Transfer Group of the Politecnico di Milano in November 2016 as a Technology Transfer Officer, with main responsibility for networking activities and knowledge dissemination.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.