Patent/IP in Malta
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Intellectual Property Malta
Intellectual Property, or IP, as it is colloquially called, is characterised as legal protection for commercially precious products of human intellect. There are, generally, three forms of IP: patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although these articles are similar many some ways, they each have individual idiosyncrasies and definitions which make them unique. Perhaps most importantly, there is no physicality to intellectual property. If effectively safeguards an intangible idea or process.
Malta recognises intellectual property rights (IPRs) and has decreed the Patent Law, the Trademark Law, the Copyright Law and subsequent measures to protect and enforce such rights.
Generally speaking, patents are granted to inventors for inventions. These can include anything from machinery, tools, processes, chemicals, biotechnology, software, etc.
To qualify for a patent, an inventor must invariably create something that is:
- Of patentable matter
- Unique to patentee
- Merited and can be utilised
Under a patent, the patentee reserves the right stop, or limit, others from utilising and trading the invention. Without explicit permission from the patentee, persons using the patent in any of these ways are infringing, and could be subjected to legal action.
Applying for a Patent
Register patents through the Maltese IP Office. It protects inventions for 20 years from the date of filing the application. Patents protect utility models and designs for 10 years.
Trademarks are used to denote epithets, logos, symbols, slogans, etc, that are individual to a business and product; fundamentally, the things that distinguish your product or service from a competitor's. Businesses understandably go to endless lengths to have control over their trademarks. Therefore, any persons found infringing upon them through unlawful use could be subject to legal action.
Famous examples of trademarks are Coca Cola and McDonald's.
Applying for a Trademark
The Trademark Office of Malta is responsible for the registration and administration of trademarks. The right of priority governs the registration of trademarks. A registered trademark is valid for 10 years from the date the of registration. A registration may be renewed for additional, successive 10 year periods by filing a renewal application. If registration of the same trademark has been filed in a foreign country, documents concerning its examination must be provided when applying for registration in Malta.
Copyright gives someone to sell and reproduce a protected product, which is invariably printed work. Things like books, magazines, websites, photographs, music, film and art are common examples of copyrighted work. Copyright denotes five rights of the author, artist, etc: reproduction, distribution, adaptation, performance and display. Use of such materials or works without the explicit permission of the copyright holder is classed as infringement, and persons doing so could be subject to legal action.
Malta Trademark & Copyright Office
Ministry For Competitiveness & Communications
Casa Leoni, St Joseph High Road
St Venera, CMR 02 Malta
+356 21 485100