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:
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, and 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 favorable 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.
Various different types of intellectual property income attract different tax treatments. Given the flexibility of the IP holding infrastructure in Malta, it is possible, with proper planning, to achieve a rate of 0% tax from IP income.
Malta income tax law provides for a full exemption from Malta income in respect of royalties, advances and similar income derived from:
Also exempt is income derived from a foreign company registered in Malta (branch) which does not derive the income from the IP from Malta, and does not remit the income to Malta.
In particular, our Malta IP Law services in this field include:
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