World Intellectual Property Organization

Overview of the Legal and Regulatory Framework for Intellectual Property in San Marino

Prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization © 2012


San Marino, officially the Most Serene Republic of San Marino, is a country forming an enclave on the eastern side of the Apennine Mountains in Italy. A European microstate, it has the smallest population of all the members of the Council of Europe.

Founded as a monastic community in the year 301, San Marino acquired its actual legal system and became a constitutional Republic on October 8, 1600 with the enactment of a compilation of Statuti (Statutes), covering the institutions and practices of Sammarinese government and justice at that time. These Statutes form the basis of all law in effect today and are therefore considered de facto as collectively forming the Basic laws of San Marino.  

The Electoral Law No. 6 of 31 January 1996, the Qualified Law No. 1 of 11 May 2007 and the Qualified Law No. 1 of 5 August 2008 serve some of the functions of a Constitution and the Declaration on the Citizens’ Rights and Fundamental Principles of San Marino Constitutional Order is a significant instrument of Sammarinese law in that it contains the fundamental principles of the juridical order of San Marino. 

Form of Government

Politics of San Marino takes place both in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Captains Regent are the heads of state, and of a multi-party system.  The two Captains Regent from opposing parties are elected for six-month terms. This practice of multiple heads of State, as well as the frequent re-election of the heads of State, are derived directly from the customs of the Roman Republic.

Executive power is exercised by the government (two Captains Regent and a State Congress composed of 10 Secretaries).

Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament or Consiglio Grande e Generale (Grand and General Council) which has been nominating the Captains Regent since 1243. The Council is a unicameral legislature with 60 members. There are elections every five years by proportional representation in all nine administrative districts. These districts (townships) correspond to the old parishes of the Republic. The Council also has the power to ratify treaties with other countries.

The judiciary or Consiglio dei XII (Council of Twelve) is independent of the executive and the legislature.

External Relations

San Marino is an associated state of Italy, which is responsible for its defense and which provides it an annual subsidy. San Marino became a member of the Council of Europe in 1988 and of the United Nations in 1992. Although San Marino is not a European Union member, it is allowed to use the euro as its currency by arrangement with the Council of the European Union.

Intellectual Property in San Marino

Specifics [1]:

- The Republic of San Marino adhered to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property on March 4, 1960 and is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

- Under Law No. 64 of 24 June, 1997 – Framework Law on Trademarks and Patents, the Republic of San Marino adopted a framework law on Trademarks and Patents. This law established, among others, the Trademark and Patent Office of the Republic of San Marino.

- Law No. 79 of 25 May 2005 – Industrial Property Consolidation Act brought about the Industrial Property Law of San Marino. Being a framework law, the specific regulations are delegated to special Regent's decree. On August 1, 1999, Decree No. 86 of 27 July 1999 - Regulation on the Organization of the Profession of Industrial Property Consultant came into force.

- Under the Convention of Friendship and Good Neighborhood between Italy and San Marino of March 31, 1939, trademarks that are registered and patents granted in either country enjoy reciprocity of protection.  Such reciprocity rule is further confirmed by Decree No. 74 of 29 June 1999 - Regulation implementing the Framework Law on Trademarks and Patents No. 64 of 24 June 1997 as well as the Economic Cooperation Treaty between Italy and San Marino of March 31, 2009. Additionally, in compliance with Art. 2 of the European Patent Convention (EPC), since a European patent validated in Italy is to be considered under all circumstances equal to an Italian national patent, it shall also automatically enjoy protection in San Marino. [2]

- On July 1, 2009, the Republic of San Marino became the European Patent Office's (EPO) 36th member state, following its accession to the European Patent Convention (EPC) on April 21, 2009.

National IP Office:

The State Office of Patents and Trademarks of San Marino (USBM) is the office receiving and issuing international trademark applications in keeping with the Madrid Agreement and Madrid Protocol. In addition, the USBM grants domestic patents and is also the office receiving international (WIPO-PCT) as well as European patent applications (EPO). Also, Italian Industrial Property consultants can practice before the USBM (see Regulation No. 5 of 2 July 2007 – Regulation on the Practice of the Profession of Industrial Property Attorney).

Sources and acknowledgements:

Wikipedia page of San Marino

CIA World Factbook

Barzano-Zanardo Law firm

Jacobacci and Partners



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