Intellectual property (IP) is often a client’s most valuable asset. It is that area of business law which provides entrepreneurs and innovative an incentive to create and discover without the constant fear that their initiative could be threatened. This is why IP Law plays such a paramount role in every business.
Over the years Malta has, for a variety of reasons, established itself as an attractive jurisdiction for entrepreneurs wishing to safeguard their intellectual property rights. While working on becoming a prime ICT and financial services hub on the one hand, Malta also made sure that its intellectual property legal framework is a sound and attractive one, thereby providing a holistic framework. This was done in light of the importance that intellectual property protection plays in modern business law.
IP Law in Malta
The year 2000 heralded an upgrade of Maltese copyright, patents and designs, and trademarks protection laws. These revisions brought Malta into line with the relevant EU IP Law. Malta also joined the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty in 2007, as well as the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty in 2009, adopting their corresponding regulations.
Malta's primary IP Law falls under the:
- Copyright Act (Chapter 415 of the Laws of Malta)
- Trademarks Act (Chapter 416 of the Laws of Malta)
- Patents and Designs Act (Chapter 417 of the Laws of Malta)
- Intellectual Property Rights (cross-border measures) Act (Chapter 414 of the Laws of Malta)
As a Malta IP Law Firm we can take care of the whole spectrum of intellectual property legislation.
Industrial property rights are protected under the Patents and Designs Act 2000 which legislation incorporates the Malta domestic patent legislation and the main provisions of the European Patent Convention (EPC) into Maltese law. Malta’s Patent law is also TRIPS compliant.
Malta trademark law covers the protection of brands and marks that distinguish a company and bestow it its identity. The main Act in Malta that covers this area is the Trademarks Act, Chap 416, ACT XVI of 2000. Malta’s accession as a full Member State of the European Union in May 2004 resulted in Malta becoming a full member of the Community Trade Mark (CTM) and Community Design (CD) system. A Community Trade Mark (CTM) is any trademark which is pending registration or has been registered in the European Union as a whole. This, as opposed to individual registrations on a national level, renders the CTM a very favourable option to right holders, resulting in a cost-effective and unitary mode of registration and administration.
Malta's applicable law with regards to counterfeit goods and the relevant procedure for intervention is in line with the relevant European Union Regulations and Directives. It is important to note that the protection granted by virtue of the Intellectual Property Rights (Cross-Border Measures) Act to the right holder, will not be enjoyed in cases where goods bearing trademarks, or protected by patents, copyrights and design rights have been manufactured with the consent of the right holder even though they have been subsequently put into circulation without the consent of the right holder.
Copyright works receive statutory protection automatically. The protection granted emanates from the law once they are placed in the public domain, and protection lasts up to 70 years after the demise of the copyright holder. Copyright includes: artistic works, audio-visual works, databases, literary works (including computer programmes), and musical works.
Our IP Law Practice
At Chetcuti Cauchi, we seek to apply a pragmatic business approach to each client’s intellectual property matters and obtain results consistent with the client’s business needs. As a Malta IP Law Firm Chetcuti Cauchi offers a wide-ranging variety of services for individuals and entities seeking to protect their ideas, marks, inventions, works and designs from potential threats.
Clients may benefit from our services from the very early stages of the actual inception of their projects to the finalisation stages. By nature, intellectual property rights are of an ongoing character and hence our services have been likewise designed with the intention of also providing clients with continuous assistance throughout the duration of their project or business.
Having identified and determined the most adequate options for the project at hand, our intellectual property lawyers are subsequently able to assist clients in the actual attainment of the required protection through planning of intellectual property management portfolios (on a domestic, European or international level), compilation of the necessary documentation, and the recording of some with the relevant authorities.
In particular, our Malta IP Law services in this field include:
- initial and ongoing advisory and provision of general guidance on how clients are to secure adequate and effective protection for their intellectual property and to safeguard their interests in the best manner possible
- registration of Malta trademarks, Malta patents and Malta designs
- registration of trademarks and trademark searches within the EU
- trademark, design and patent searches
- negotiating and drafting of confidentiality, non-disclosure, development, distribution, technology transfer, licensing and joint venture agreements for domestic and foreign entities
- trademark watch for brand owners
- trademark licensing consultations
- protecting business, trade and brand reputation
- protection of domain names
- advising on copyright protection and formalisation thereof
- preparing and prosecuting domestic and foreign patent applications in all technologies
- dispute resolution through planning, mediation, negotiation, out of court settlements, trademark and domain name dispute resolutions and counterfeit good seizures
Our Intellectual Property Clients
As a Malta IP Law Firm, Chetcuti Cauchi is deemed to be a major player in the intellectual property protection field in the jurisdiction. Besides being regularly involved in regulatory consultations and discussions for changes in the law, the firm regularly advises governmental authorities and agencies as well as an array of local and international names in the manufacturing, home furnishings, beverages, internet, gaming and e-commerce fields.
Our typical clients include software developers and licensors, pharmaceutical companies, inventors, brand owners belonging to various industries, lyrical artists and song writers, professional photographers, fashion designers, authors, ICT companies and online gaming operators.
Top Ranked Malta IP Lawyers
Lead by Dr. Maria Chetcuti Cauchi, founding partner at Chetcuti Cauchi, the IP Law Practice seeks to apply a pragmatic business approach to each client’s intellectual property matters and obtain results consistent with the client’s business needs. Chetcuti Cauchi offers a wide-ranging variety of services for individuals and entities seeking to protect their ideas, marks, inventions, works and designs from potential threats.
Legal500 Top Tier IP Law Firm
In 2014, Legal500 Malta once again confirmed Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates as a Tier 1 Malta intellectual property law firm:
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates’ multi-disciplinary intellectual property practice runs the gamut of IP work, from registration and portfolio management to complex trade mark and patent disputes. The practice has strong referral relationships with many international law firms. Highlights included registering a community trade mark for an educational and training services provider. Seasoned IP expert Maria Chetcuti-Cauchi heads the team.
In 2013, Legal500 Malta recognised Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates as a Top Tier Malta intellectual property law firm with the following comments:
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates’ IP team has been dubbed as 'quick to reply and proactive". In their comments about the firm, clients interviewed by Legal500 said that the firm provides 'very user-friendly advice'. Dr Silvana Zammit and group head Dr Maria Chetcuti-Cauchi have been named as 'excellent lawyers, very pleasant to work with and quick to assist'.