Intellectual property (IP) encompasses patents, trademarks, designs, and copyright. As the term implies, all these rights are intellectual in nature and are indeed intangible. The above subcategories are the result of a long traditional search for a balance between the intellectual property in the public domain and the rights granted to their creators as a form of incentive to reveal their creation or invention and continue to pursue such ventures. Moreover, these assets are often the lifeblood of businesses, providing them with a competitive edge in the global market. Effective IP protection is essential for preserving the unique ideas, innovations, and creative works that drive a business forward.
The purpose of a trademark is to distinguish the goods or services of one business from those of another business. Trademarks are generally used to identify a particular manufacturer, brand or product, as well as the reputation and goodwill associated with said goods or services. Following the recent trademark law amendments, a trademark may consist of verbal, figurative, sound, multimedia, motion, hologram amongst other types of marks. Once registered, trademarks are valid for a period of 10 years which may be renewed for further periods of 10 years indefinitely.
If you are the creator of an invention and wish to benefit from that creativity, a patent will grant you the right to prevent others from replicating your ideas. Should anyone infringe your patent, you are then able to take legal action and seek damages. A patent is valid for 20 years from the filling date of the application and it has to be maintained by the payment of an annual fee at the prescribed time.
A design can be protected if it is new, and it has individual character. It will be considered as new if no identical design has been made available to the public before the date of filling of the application for registration. On the other hand, a design is considered to have an individual character if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced by any other design. In most cases, registration may be refused if a design is identical to a prior design, if it is purely functional or if the design is found to be contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality. A registered design is protected for a period of 5 years from the date of filling of the application which may be further renewed for further periods of 5 years for up to a total of 25 years from the date of filling.
Original works which are eligible for copyright protection include literary, artistic, audio-visual and musical works. For works to be protected these must be original and duly written or recorded since ideas are not granted copyright protection. Contrary to other areas of intellectual property, there is no need to register a copyright as protection is automatically granted if all the requirements established by law are satisfied. Works are afforded copyright protection for 70 years after the end of the year following which the author passes away. Performers’ rights, producers’ rights, audio-visual works have a duration of 50 years from the end of the year in which the work was first made public.
Our Expertise in Intellectual Property
Our team of experienced attorneys specializes in IP law and is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of IP protection, enforcement, and management. Our attorneys specialised in Maltese IP laws and regulations, can help you receive the most effective legal counsel tailored to your specific needs.
We will guide you through the application process, conduct thorough searches, and provide strategic advice to protect your rights. We also handle matters of opposition, validations, renewals and registrations of supplementary protection certificates. If you desire to license IP rights, or sell the rights attached to them, our team will assist you by drafting, negotiating and enforcing contracts to help you monetize your IP rights. Besides that, if your intellectual property rights are infringed upon, our litigation team will vigorously represent your interests in court, seeking remedies and damages on your behalf.
In addition to this, we, at Valletta Legal, also offer the service of Intellectual Property Holding Companies (IP Holding Companies). Clients that enjoy large ownership of IP assets can opt to incorporate an IP Holding Company in the Maltese jurisdiction and channel the international income through Malta. With the proper guidance, they may greatly reduce what could be unnecessary tax bills.
Related services offered by Valletta Legal are in relation to collecting rights societies, neighbouring rights issues, non-circumvention agreements, non-disclosure agreements, public performance agreements, royalty structures and trade secrets.
Intellectual property is a valuable asset that requires careful protection and strategic management. We are committed to helping you safeguard your IP rights and leverage them for business success. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can assist you in protecting and maximizing the value of your intellectual property assets.