Software enjoys patent protection in Italy and Europe as a computer-implemented invention (CII). A patent for a computer-implemented invention covers the functions of a software program irrespective of the programming language/environment in which the software program is run. Patentable software is capable of generating a technical effect that goes beyond the normal interaction between the software and the hardware the software is run on. The technical effect can be seen inside a computer or outside it, in an apparatus controlled by the software itself.

Software is also protected within the framework of copyright law. The SIAE (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) is entrusted with keeping a special public register of computer programs. Registration of software in this special register serves as evidence of the existence of the software and of its creator and publication, unless proof to the contrary is provided. New, i.e. unpublished, software can also be protected. In this case the software is registered with the SIAE as unpublished work.

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