Intellectual property protection

Intellectual property protection (IP) rights services and how to protect your Intellectual property the right way

Intellectual property protection

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works (including novels, articles, music, etc), designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce (including logos, brand names, etc.). IP may be protected by law granting rights to the creators of IP, which may enable the owners of the IP to earn recognition or financial benefit from what was invented or created.

We assist our clients with tax efficient solutions, Malta company formation, partnerships, funds, trusts and foundations as well as assisting with taking up residency in Malta.

To facilitate the protection of your IP rights and maximise financial returns, we offer a full range of ongoing corporate administration and compliance services including Intellectual property advisory and compliance services and back office corporate and income tax compliance services.

History of intellectual property

The English Statute of Monopolies (1624) and the British Statute of Anne (1710) are widely regarded as the origins of patent law and copyright, respectively, establishing the concept of intellectual property. The first known use of the actual term intellectual property dates to 1769, in a piece published in the British periodical, the Monthly Review.

The German equivalent was used with the founding of the North German Confederation in 1867, whose constitution granted legislative power over the protection of intellectual property (Schutz des geistigen Eigentums) to the confederation.

The United International Bureaux for the Protection of Intellectual Property was established in Berne, Switzerland in 1893, and subsequently relocated to Geneva in 1960. It was succeeded in 1967 by the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), as an agency of the UN.

Intellectual property protection (Intellectual property rights)

Besides securing brand identity and recognition of your intellectual property, another main reason behind registering your intellectual property is to make taking legal actions against anyone who attempts to steal or copy your idea more efficient.

Intellectual property rights include patents, copyright, industrial design rights, trademarks, plant variety rights, trade dress, geographical indications and in some jurisdictions also trade secrets. There are also more specialised or derived varieties in some jurisdictions (such as mask work rights in the US and database rights in the EU).

Intellectual property rights are like any other property rights. They allow creators, or owners, of intellectual property to benefit from their work or investment in a creation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contain a provision for the right to benefit from the protection of moral and material interests resulting from authorship of scientific, literary and artistic productions.

The progress and well-being of humanity rests on its capacity to create and invent new works in the areas of technology and culture. Legal protection of new creations encourages the commitment of additional resources for further innovation and protection of intellectual property spurs economic growth, creates new jobs and industries and enhances the quality and enjoyment of life.

Types of intellectual property protection (IP)

Depending on the type of intellectual property involved, jurisdiction, and the nature of the action, the type of rights for an Intellectual property protection may be:

• Copyright: writing and literary works, art, photography, films, TV, music, web content, sound recordings;
• Industrial Design: applies to the shape, surface and configuration (how various parts of a design are arranged together) of objects;
• Trademarks: Product names, logos, slogans;
• Patents: inventions and products, for instance machines and machine parts, tools, medicines;
• Geographical Indication: indications of origin of a product, eg wine or cheese.

Note: We recommend keeping these types of intellectual property secret until they’re registered (or published). If you need to discuss your idea or invention with someone, make sure to use a non-disclosure agreement.

Defend your intellectual property rights and getting help

It is your own responsibility to defend your intellectual property and to take action if someone is using your intellectual property without permission, usually referred to as an infringement of your intellectual property rights.

Examples of IP infringement include when someone:

  • Uses, sells or imports your patented product of process;
  • Uses all or some of your work under copyright without your permission;
  • Makes, offers or sells your registered design for commercial gain;
  • Uses a trademark that is identical or similar to yours;
  • Steps you may follow when an infringement occurs:
    • Contact the offending party and agree with them to stop, or license them (against payment) to use your IP
    • Use mediation or other type of dispute resolution
    • Take legal action against the offender

We may assist with consultancy and advice with regard to an infringement of your IP rights.