The paramount importance of protection of a business’ Intellectual Property stems from its use as a means of identification of that business’ product, goods or services, distinguishing the same from those of other, competing, organisations. To the extent that such IP is protected in the prescribed manner, it also serves the purpose of representing its proprietor’s guarantee of consistent quality by showing the organisation’s commitment to its customers and in most cases provides a basis for publicity and advertising. Accordingly, it is in the interest of Industrial Property owners to apply for the registration of all their Trademarks, Patents and Designs.
In terms of Maltese law, a registered trademark is a property right conferring upon the proprietor thereof exclusive rights in the trademark and the remedies provided in virtue of the Trademarks Act (Chapter 416, Laws of Malta) in the event of infringement of the trademark.
A registered Maltese trademark may be transferred, assigned or licensed by its proprietor.
Malta is currently party to the following International IP Treaties and Agreements
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1964)
- Paris Convention for the Protection of IP (1967)
- Universal Copyright Convention (1968)
- WIPO Agreement (1977)
- WTO TRIPS Agreement (1995)
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (2007)
- European Patent Convention (2007)
- Accession to the WCT & WPPT (expected 2008)
- Accession to the Madrid Protocol (expected 2009)
Applicable Maltese legislation incorporates all obligations arising from these Conventions and is in line with the TRIPS agreement and the EU Acquis.
As such, a person who has duly filed an application for protection of a trademark in a country which is a member of the World Trade Organisation or a party to the Paris Convention, or his successor in title, has a right to priority, for the purposes of registering the same as a Maltese trademark for any or all of the same goods or services for which such an application has been filed, for a period of six months from the date of filing of the first such application.
The Firm can assist in optimising the protection afforded to a company’s Intellectual Property including, inter alia, computer software, technical knowledge, patents, trademarks, trade secrets & methods, and copyrights and specialises in:
- The registration of copyrights, trademarks, patents and designs and the provision of legal and technical advice in this respect;
- Drafting of Agreements identifying, creating, protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights and assets;
- The building of protective clauses into all agreements and arrangements to which the protection of intellectual property rights may be incidental or ancillary, such as in the context of Merger & Acquisition transactions;
- Implementation of licence, distribution, manufacture and franchise arrangements and drafting of relative agreements;
- Infringement proceedings.