Further Tutor judgment: no evidence regarding software ownership

The Tutor saga progresses. As many will remember, in April 2018, the Court of Appeal of Rome ruled on the patent of the SICVe system, that is, the information system for speed control (the so-called Tutor). The Court previously ascertained the validity of the patent on this system registered by C.R.A.F.T. S.r.l., a small Tuscan company. It also ruled that “the SICVe road traffic surveillance system, called Tutor or Safety Tutor, installed by Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A. on the motorways it manages under concession” was in breach of the C.R.A.F.T. patent. As a result, it inhibited its use and ordered the removal and destruction of all existing equipment.

With its ruling of 4 January 2019, the Court of Rome decided who was the owner of the SICVe system software whether a company from Latina or Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A.. The Judge observed that it was difficult to separate the software component from the SICVe system as a whole, also considering what was stated in the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Rome. Moreover, Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A. was unable to provide evidence clarifying this circumstance or in any case relating to the ownership of the software in question by Autostrade per l’Italia S.p.A.. The Court of Rome was therefore unable to resolve the matter due to lack of evidence and therefore rejected the claims of both parties.

Therefore, the issue remains about who is the actual owner of the intellectual property on the application software of the so-called Tutor system; what is certain is who has the patent rights on the system itself.