Cyprus: Intellectual Property

Last Updated: 11 March 2019
Article by Michalis Economides

The last decade formed a new reality in the Intellectual Property sector, which made its registration essential to any business.

The cyberspace with its continuous information flow, as well as the expansion of most businesses abroad, have already established the new, modern, framework for the intellectual property.

Intellectual Property is defined as the competitive advantage of a private or legal entity and is categorized as follows:

  • Industry and Industrial Property that includes inventions – patents, trademarks, industrial designs and intellectual property rights.
  • Creators' Copyright rights. This category includes scientific, musical, literary and artistic works as well as television shows, software, databases, architectural plans, advertising and multimedia.
  • Business strategies which include business secrets, confidentiality agreements and know-how.

As a business investment center and member of the European Union, Cyprus provides protection under the Community law while being harmonized with all the standards and requirements of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Additionally, the Republic of Cyprus has numerous Community and international conventions and related sanctioning laws, including the Bern Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol on the Registration of Trademarks at International Level, the Paris Convention on the Protection of Industrial Property etc., and has rightfully earned its position on the world map as one of the most favorable jurisdictions for company formation and intellectual property management.

The competitive advantage gained by the intellectual property protection is of major economic importance for today's businesses because it can provide instant awareness and / or differentiation in the company's products and services, while adding value to its reputation. This is exactly why reputation is considered to be a fixed asset of a business.

Another competitive advantage, for reducing the taxation on intangible assets such as intellectual property, is the company's formation in jurisdictions with a favorable tax regime. Republic of Cyprus is definitely a privileged jurisdiction due to the various double taxation treaties which maintains its favorable tax status with other countries, as well as the low to zero tax retention of dividends.

It is vital to understand the differentiation of the trademark, the business trade name and their significance.

The trademark guarantees the name and / or logo and / or both, while the business trade name basically protects only the name, without fully guaranteeing the owner’s copyright. The trademark is what effectively protects the name of the product or service, the logo, or the combination of both.
Additionally, the company name is not copyrighted if the company does not make the appropriate procedures provided by the legal framework for its registration as a trademark.

Subsequently, in order to be protected by the registration of the company name, it should be registered as a trademark, as defined by the Trademark Law (Chapter 268), combined with the provisions, principles and guidelines deriving from the International Convention of Paris for the Protection of Industrial Property (Laws 63/65 and 66/83).

As a law firm that operates internationally in more than twenty one jurisdictions by providing corporate services, we advise our customers, especially those operating abroad, to register their trademark so that they can prevent any use and / or exploitation, by third parties. Specifically, this process is of upmost importance when it comes to companies investing remarkable funds in branding the services and products they provide.

Besides, the trademark is the one characteristic that differentiates and highlights the innovative ideas and activities of the businesses. For that reason, huge branding, preservation and development budgets are being invested for the product or service concerned, always aiming at the establishment of reputation, which is inseparably interrelated with the profitability of the company.

Furthermore, our highly competitive business environment, having as its main feature the widespread and immediate dissemination of information, indicates the significance of branding, making it a matter of major importance.

In the Republic of Cyprus, the Intellectual and Industrial Property sector of the Department of Company Registrar and Official Receiver, is the one who manages and regulates Intellectual Property issues. This sector includes trademarks, patents, industrial designs, record keeping and intellectual property rights.

In conclusion, the registration of Intellectual Property should not be overlooked; on the contrary, it is an investment and at the same time, an intangible asset, which adds value to the products and / or services of each business. Moreover, it is important that an intellectual property owner monitors and protects his intellectual property rights in a wider range, especially when they operate in other countries, where appropriate actions should be taken to register and protect such intellectual property rights to all required entities.

Based on our experience and due to the fact that not all cases are simple, we recommend that all intellectual property procedures must be supervised by experienced and accredited law firms, which can provide the necessary and appropriate advice throughout the procedure, both at national and international level.

This article was first published by Capital Today Magazine July 2018

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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