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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Okt 12, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 18/16)
United Kingdom
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Major Changes to IP Laws in Cayman Islands Soon

Three new intellectual property (IP) laws concerning trademarks, patents and designs were published in the Cayman Islands on August 31, 2016. These laws will come into force on a date to be announced. They will have a significant impact, especially on trademark and design protection. The laws are:

- The Trade Marks Bill 2016
- The Design Rights Registration Law 2016
- The Patents and Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill 2016

Presently, the only way of getting IP protection in the Cayman Islands is through the extension of UK registrations, and there is only provision for patent and trademark rights. The new laws will:
- Create a system of direct trademark registration in the Cayman Islands
- Create a system for the extension of UK design registrations
- Bring about some minor amendments to the existing system of extending UK patents

The bill on trademarks creates an independent trade mark registration system. Other interesting features of the bill are:
- There is a requirement that a proprietor must appoint an agent;
- The term ‘trade mark’ is defined in fairly broad terms to include words, designs, numerals, letters and shapes of goods or their packaging;
- There is provision for the registration of ordinary trademarks, as well as certification marks and collective marks;
- There are absolute and relative grounds of refusal;
- The registration and renewal terms are 10 years;
- An annual maintenance fee is payable;
- There are various offences relating to trademark infringement, and these carry hefty fines and prison terms;
- There are specific provisions regarding counterfeiting - for example, the registered proprietor can give notice to the Collector of Customs of suspected infringing goods that are expected to arrive in the Cayman Islands and, provided that the proprietor furnishes the necessary fees and security, the officials will impound the goods and the goods will be forfeited;
- Regulations can be passed and these can relate to the continued application of the Patents and Trade Marks Law of 2011 - presumably the Regulations will explain how existing registrations (UK extensions) will be treated.

For more information, please click here

Source: Spoor & Fisher, South Africa/Channel Islands