1. Scientific research

2. Patent applications

3. Technological balance of payments

4. Environmental certifications


1. Scientific research

Data and Research and Development (R&D) activity are obtained through the surveys “Experimental research and development in Italy”, which are conducted every year by Istat. These surveys are aimed at collecting information on enterprises, on public institutions, and on non-profit private institutions, that carry out research activities on a regular basis.

The surveys follow the methodology recommended in the OECD-Eurostat manual on statistical surveys on R&D, which was first published in 1964 and updated in 2002. The use of the manual ensures that the Italian data are comparable at international level.

The survey on enterprises referred to 2007 covered around 16,700 enterprises: nearly all Italian enterprises with at least 500 persons employed and all enterprises which, regardless of the size,  were in the conditions to have conducted R&D activities during the reference year. The list of enterprises to be surveyed is constructed according to information contained in statistical sources (Istat’s Statistical register of active enterprises – ASIA), in administrative sources (enterprises listed in the research registers of the Ministry of University and Research, enterprises that participate in research projects financed by the EU, enterprises that asked for tax relief for their R&D activity, etc.). The response rate, with reference to year 2007, was 51.4%.

The survey on R&D activity of  public institutions is conducted with a methodology similar to that of the survey on enterprises. The list of institutions to be surveyed (which in 2007 comprised, 813 public institutions) is based on the roll of institutional units belonging to code S13 (compiled every year by Istat in the framework of the European System of Accounts – ESA95 in order to indentify the public institutions). All public institutions that were likely to have conducted R&D activities during the reference year selected. The response rate, with reference to year 2007, was 57.2%.

The survey on R&D activity of non-profit private institutions is based (for reference year 2007) on a list of 897 institutions that were  likely to have carried R&D activity during the reference year. Such list was defined according to the results of the 2001 Census of non-profit institutions, which have been updated with the results of the surveys on R&D conducted during the years 2002-2006 . The response rate, with reference to year 2007, was 60.4%.

Data on R&D activity carried out by universities (private or public) are estimated by Istat, on the basis of the estimated expenditure on R&D and staff involved. The staff involved is R&D activity calculated on the basis of administrative data on university personnel provided every year by the  Ministry of University and Research. The statistics office of the Ministry also provides, on an annual basis, information on researchers in Italian Universities and that benefit from research allowances. The time that University teachers and researches dedicate to research activities is estimated on the basis of coefficients derived from the survey “Research activity of University teachers” conducted with reference to the academic year 2004-2005.


2. Patent applications

Statistics on patents are released by the Italian Office for Patents and Trademarks (UIBM), which is part of the Ministry of economic development. Its main activities are:

  • issue national patents and intellectual property rights in respect of new plant varieties;
  • issue registrations of semi-conductor products’ topography;
  • file applications for European patents;
  • keep the Italian registers of European patents and of Community patents;
  • file international applications in compliance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty and register national trademarks;
  • issue protection certificates for medicine and plant protection products;
  • registration of industrial designs and models;
  • registration of national trademarks;
  • activities relating to the registration of international trademarks with the World Intellectual Property Organization (Genève)
  • file applications for Community trademarks;
  • international registration and protection of designations of origin of typical industrial and handicraft products, in compliance with the Lisbon Agreement;
  • procedures against the registration of national and international trademarks;
  • support and secretariat for the Commission of recourses (article 135 of the Industrial Property Code);
  • create and manage databases and disseminate information concerning patents.

The Italian Office for Patents and Trademarks (UIBM) manages a national database that contains all information on patents filed with the Chambers of Commerce. This database is accessible to users, who can search for news concerning patents or trademarks.

The information in the database covers invention patents, utility models, designs, trademarks and translations filed since January 1980. For new plant varieties, protection certificates for medicine and plant protection products, and semi-conductor products’ topographies, the information is available since 1 October 1989. Transcripts and annotations are instead available since 1 January 1996.

The database us updated regularly and the information available refers to:

  • Starting date: date when the first application was imputed in the database;
  • Type
  • Code: corresponds to the number of application or to the number of patent/publication
  • Application date
  • Registration or issue date
  • Province of application
  • Province or foreign country of residence of at least one of the applicants.

For inventions and utility models, applications covered by military  secret are not considered in the database.

Patents are classified into eleven types, as follows:

  1. Annotations
  2. Complementary certificates of protection for plant protection products
  3. Complementary certificates of protection for medicines
  4. Designs
  5. Inventions
  6. Trademarks
  7. Utility models
  8. New plant varieties
  9. Semi-conductor products’ topographies
  10. Translations
  11. Transcripts


3. Technological balance of payments

The Technological Balance of Payments (TBP) records the revenues and the outlays concerning foreign transactions of disembodied technology, in the form of industrial property rights such as patents, licences, trademarks, know-how and technical assistance. Values recorded in the TBP  represent indicators of technological input (outlays) and output (revenues).

The data are released by the Bank of Italy. They include operations that take place outside the banking circuit (bank cheques, foreign bank accounts, etc.) and operations that take place through compensation.

Classification of operators

Institutional units and operational units are grouped are grouped on the basis of their function and on the basis of their prevalent economic activity. The classifications used for the two aggregations are described in the “Instructions for the classification of clients by sector and branches of economic activity”, prepared by the Bank of Italy according to criteria adopted by Istat and to the ESA95 scheme.

Recommendations by international organisations

Since 1996 the Technological Balance of Payments (TBP) complied with the recommendations provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


4. Environmental certifications

Data on the ISO 14001 certifications (and, more in general, on the entire 14000 series) are provided by ISPRA - Institute for Environmental Protection and Research. The Institute was established by Decree no. 112 of 25 June 2008, converted into Law no. 133 (with amendments) on 21 August 2008.

ISPRA performs, with the inherent financial resources, equipment and personnel, the duties of:

- ex-APAT, Italian Environment Protection and Technical Services Agency (article 38 of Legislative Decree no. 300, July 30, 1999, and subsequently amended);

- ex-INFS, National Institute for Wildlife (Law no. 157 of February 11, 1992, and subsequently amended);

- ex-ICRAM, Central Institute for Scientific and Technological Research applied to the Sea (Decree no. 496, article 1-bis, December 4, 1993, converted into Law no. 61, Article 1, January 21, 1994, with amendments).

The Institute acts under the vigilance and policy guidance of the Italian Ministry for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea (Ministero dell’Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio e del Mare).

The international standard  UNI EN ISO 14001 can be adopted by any type of organisation that intends to adopt an environmental management system while conducting its activities. ISO 14001 is included in the Annex to Regulation EC  761/01 (EMAS).

Generally speaking, the technical rules of the ISO 14000 series reflect, at the international level, the general agreement with regard to the good practices for environmental protection, applied to any organisation in any part of the world.

The ISO 14000 series provides management tools for organisations that with to control their impact on the environment and improve their performance in this field. A specific characteristic of the ISO 14000 is that it can be adopted by organisation on a voluntary basis.

The technical rules of ISO 14000 are defined, at the international level, by the Technical Committee n. 207 of the International Organization for Standards (ISO TC 207). The group or rules of the 14000 series includes theme of general interest, such the environmental management systems and, in addition, proposes three types of tools useful for their implementation: LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), EPE (Environmental Performance Evaluation) e Environmental Labelling.

Data aggiornamento: 
December, 2010