Intellectual Property Registration
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CSB Group’s setup is geared to handle all areas of Intellectual Property, be it Trademarks, Patents and Designs or Copyright; locally, European Union-wide and internationally.
Intellectual Property Services in Malta
For over 50 years, Malta has sought to develop an environment receptive to thought and innovation, which may potentially be very valuable, by promoting Intellectual Property registration and therefore its protection.
There are a total of four types of Intellectual Property:
- Patents, which are regulated under the Patent and Designs Act (Cap 417) and subsidiary legislation 417.02 and 417.03 on supplementary protection certificates in respect of pharmaceutical products and plant protection products;
- Copyright, which is regulated under the Copyright Act (Cap 415) and Subsidiary Legislation 415.01 on Control for the Establishment and Operations of Societies for the Collective Administration of Copyright, Subsidiary Legislation 415.02 on Revival of Rights and Neighbouring Rights and the Exhaustion of Distribution Rights and Subsidiary Legislation 415.03 on Artists’ Resale Rights;
- Trademarks, which are regulated under the Trademark Act (Cap 597) and the new Trademark Rules, 2021 (Legal Notice 50 of 2021) and all subsidiary legislation thereunder. Since the date Malta accessed the EU, its Intellectual Property is also covered by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO);
- Designs, which are regulated under the Patents and Designs Act Cap. 417.
Malta is a single-class jurisdiction, and unlike multiple-classed jurisdictions, applicants who wish to apply for several trademark classes must apply for each class by way of a separate application.
Maltese legislation is harmonised with all existing European Union legislation in this regard and seeks to ensure protection to Intellectual Property which is both fair to those using products protected by Intellectual Property and adequately protecting and remunerating the creators and owners of such Intellectual Property.
The term Patent refers an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. This excludes others from reproducing, selling, or distributing the patented creation. A Patent in Malta is valid for a period of 20 years from the date of application.
There are, however, exceptions. The following cannot be patented:
- discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
- aesthetic creations;
- schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business and programs for computers;
- presentations of information;
- a method for the treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy and a diagnostic method practised on the human or animal body;
- an invention the exploitation of which would be contrary to public order or morality.
In order to file for a patent, one must submit the following documentation:
An application for a patent shall be accompanied inter alia by:
- a request for the grant of a patent;
- a description of the invention;
- one or more claims;
- any drawings referred to in the description or the claims;
- an abstract of the invention.
This type of Intellectual Property in Malta is subject to a yearly fee commencing from the third year when the Patent has been granted.
Copyright refers to exclusive rights that are owned by individuals or organisations in respect of original, creative work. Copyright safeguards the right to authorise or prevent third parties from reproducing a work or a substantial part of it, the right to alter it or to adapt it and the right to distribute or communicate it to the public.
The following are works that may be eligible for copyright: artistic works, audio-visual works, databases, literary works, and musical works. Copyright protection does not cover ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts.
Although Copyright is not formally registered for protection under Industrial Property in Malta through registration at the Commerce Department, once artistic creations are placed in the public domain, they automatically receive statutory protection.
Though the Copyright is generally owned by the creator of the work, there are certain exceptions to this, in particular where computer software or databases are created under employment or under commission, where usually copyright vests with the employer or with the person who gave the commission.
Copyright is a property right, and as such it can be transferred or assigned by virtue of a private agreement. Even when this happens, the original creator still holds rights at law, namely to be indicated as the author of the work on all copies issued in relation to it. This protection lasts up to 70 years after the demise of the Copyright holder.
A Trademark can be any sign or a combination of signs, word/s including slogans, symbols, logos, or devices. Choosing an original Trademark at an early stage is vital, and helps ensure it is distinguishable from that of your competitors. A Trademark has to be classified under one or more of the 45 Nice classes. Trademarks can include any of the following types of marks:
- Work Mark
- Figurative Mark
- Figurative Mark containing word elements
- Shape Mark
- Shape Mark containing word elements
- Pattern Mark
- Position Mark
- Colour (single or combination) Mark
- Sound Mark
- Motion Mark
- Hologram Mark
- Multimedia Mark
CSB Group accepts enquires for searches and for registrations of Trademarks, as the registration process could be complex and sound advice can save time, and, more importantly, money. Interested parties are invited to proceed with their enquiry by indicating class/es sought for registration.
To date, the most popular concept of Intellectual Property in Malta has been the registration of Trademarks, by which owners protect their signs and logos which distinguish their goods and services from that of other enterprises.
Once a Trademark application has been filed and the formalities are fulfilled, the Malta Intellectual Property Office (IPO) or otherwise the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), would proceed to check the application for the substantive requirements. The substantive requirements which must be met are the graphical representation and the distinctiveness of the Trademark.
The validity period of a Trademark registration is for a period of ten (10) years, which start running from the date of registration, and can be renewed for further periods of ten (10) years upon payment of the renewal fee.
The registration of Trademarks is regulated by the Trademarks Act, Chapter 597 of the Laws of Malta (the “Act”) and supplemented by the new Trademark Rules, 2021 (Legal Notice 50 of 2021) and all subsidiary legislation thereunder.
Here at CSB Group we assist clients with searches, applications, and registrations of trademarks within the Intellectual Property Office of Malta, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), and the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO). We also assist with any opposition proceedings that clients may face or otherwise any withdrawals, restrictions, transfers, amendments, or alterations that proprietors may wish to make to their trademark registrations. Should proprietors wish to subject a trademark to a right in rem or have a trademark levied in execution, we may assist and guide them with respect to the said process from start to finish.
The term “Design” means 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. In order for it to be registered, a Design must be new and have an original character.
A Design cannot be registered if it presents:
- features of appearance of a product which are solely dictated by its technical function;
- features of appearance of a product which must necessarily be reproduced in their exact form and dimensions in order to allow the product, in which the design is incorporated or to which the design is applied, to function;
- a design serving the purpose of allowing multiple assembly or connection of multiple interchangeable products within a modular system;
- a design which is contrary to public policy or accepted principles of morality;
- a design which consists of the national flag of Malta, or contains Presidential or Episcopal arms or principal armorial bearings or representation of flags.
The registration of Designs is regulated by the Patents and Designs Act Cap. 417.
A Design right covers a period of five (5) years from the date of application, and is renewable for one or more periods of five years for a total term of twenty-five (25). The registration of a design shall confer on its holder the exclusive right to use it and to prevent any third party not having their consent from using it. A registered Design is transmissible by assignment, testamentary disposition or operation of law in the same way as other personal or moveable property. A transmission may be partial and limited so that the use of the design applies in a particular manner or a particular locality.
Designs can be registered at an international level and also at EU level with EUIPO. Designs can either go unregistered and rely on what is known as the unregistered Community design (UCD) right, or obtain a registered Community design (RCD). Whilst a UCD is given a protection of 3 years without extension, the RCD offers 5 and can be renewed for a total of 25 years.
Owner’s Protection and Rights
The entity that oversees Intellectual Property on an EU level is the EUIPO, European Union Intellectual Property Office.
Through the Registration of Intellectual Property, one can ensure that their original idea is recognised either locally or on a larger scale. The owner is therefore granted the ownership of the IP and can seek legal recourse should any third party reproduce it.
Owners may grant use of their IP through explicit permission to do so, often via a license, although those reproducing the content must respect the legally recognised rights and interests of other members of society.
Public performance, broadcasting, translations and adaptation, right of attribution, right of integrity, and moral right all fall under the owner’s rights, though some exceptions – such as fair use or fair reproduction – may present themselves.
Consultants at CSB Group will be able to guide you further on Malta & EU Intellectual Property legislation and registrations, supporting you and offering bespoke solutions for your endeavours. Our team offers advice and protection of clients’ vital assets in Malta, Europe and internationally. For further information and to speak to our legal professionals, contact us on [email protected]
Need our assistance with intellectual property services?
In an increasing fast paced world, Intellectual Property is an important asset to hold and thus it is important to make careful considerations to have such asset protected. We are engaged by our clients at all levels to assist with providing them suitable solutions in the protection of their Intellectual Property assets.
CSB Group’s setup is geared to handle all areas of Intellectual Property, be it Trademarks, Patents and Designs or Copyright; locally, European-Union wide and internationally.
Please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] where one of our consultants will assist you further.
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Need our assistance with intellectual propery services?
CSB Group’s setup is geared to handle all areas of intellectual property, be it trademarks, patents and designs or copyright; locally, European-Union wide and internationally.