Why should I protect my business’ Intellectual Property (IP)?
A business’ Intellectual Property serves as a means of identification of that business’ product, goods or services, distinguishing the same from those of other competing organisations. When duly registered and protected in the prescribed manner, it also represents its proprietor’s guarantee of consistent quality by showing the organisation’s commitment to its customers and providing a basis for publicity and marketing.
What is a Trademark?
A Trademark protects brands and the various means of identification (sign or a combination of signs, word/s including slogans, symbols, logos or devices) by which a product, goods or services of an organisation are distinguished from those of others. Entrepreneurs doing business in Europe may opt for a Community Trademark or CTM registration which offers a cost-effective means of obtaining pan-European IP protection.
A registered Trademark is a property right and, as such, may be transferred, assigned or licensed by its proprietor, who is afforded exclusive rights in the Trademark enforceable through the various remedies available in the event of any infringement by third parties.
What is the validity period of a Maltese Trademark?
A Maltese trademark has a validity period of 10 years, renewable for further 10-year period/s and when registered shall be registered as of the date of filing of the application for registration, and such date shall be deemed to be the date of registration.
Is Malta a member of the ‘TMclass’ tool?
Yes, in January 2010 Malta joined TMclass, a ‘Classification of Goods and Services tool’ developed by the EUIPO, which assists trademark applicants to search for and classify Goods and Services (terms) and facilitates the translation, into all EU languages, of the full list of Goods and Services and verifies if those terms appear in the classification databases of the relative Participating Offices.
What is a Patent?
An invention that is novel, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable may be ‘patented’ in Malta (inventions such as new industrial, technological or mechanical apparatus and processes or new pharmaceuticals)
Is provisional protection in Malta provided for a European Patent?
Yes, Maltese law confers the same protection to a published European patent application as provided for national patent applications. No fees are payable for obtaining provisional protection.
What is a Design?
A Design refers to the appearance of the whole or a part of a product resulting from the features of, in particular, the lines, contours, colours, shape, texture and/or materials of the product itself and/or its ornamentation.
The Patents and Designs Act incorporates the main provisions of the European Patent Convention (EPC) into Maltese Patent law, which is also TRIPS compliant.
Is Malta a member of the ‘DesignView’ database?
Yes, in 2014 the Maltese National IP Office was integrated into the EUIPO DesignView database. DesignView is a fully multilingual centralised system providing access to all registered design information (circa 4.2 million designs) held by the participating National Offices, allowing users to perform searches in one common platform.
What is Copyright?
Copyright works are afforded statutory protection by operation of law and broadly cover artistic works, audio-visual works, databases, literary works (including computer programs) and musical works.
Is it possible to register a Patent, Trademark and Design for the same product/process?
Yes. If you have an invention which is novel, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable then you have a patent. If the final result of the process is a product with a new design or shape then you may also apply for a design. If you have given the product a name/ logo and you are going to market this to your clients or consumers under this new name/ logo then you also have a trademark.
Are there any tax benefits to ‘housing’ intellectual property in Malta?
Malta’s IP offering is complemented by various other aspects of the jurisdiction’s tax system which allow for the tax efficient structuring of intellectual property holding and licensing activities through Malta, including:
- No withholding taxes on outbound dividends, interest or royalties paid from Malta;
- Potential mitigation of source country withholding taxes on royalties paid to Malta under the EC Interest and Royalties Directive or one of Malta’s 60+ tax treaties;
- An optional step-up in the base cost of assets from historic cost to fair market value for persons transferring their residence to Malta, as well as for companies formed by way of an EU cross-border merger;
- Possible exemption from capital gains derived from a disposal of intellectual property in intragroup transfers and upon the migration out of Malta of Maltese intellectual property companies.
How can Be. Legal Advocates assist?
We 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 we specialise 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.
Intellectual property strategies vary greatly between industries and individual companies. An effective strategy will generally combine intellectual property rights with less formal arrangements such as agreements to preserve confidentiality. Various forms of protection can be chosen as needed to establish or reinforce a market position. Contact us to explore all the available options.