Intellectual Property

‘“The vesting of rights to intellectual property owners has been possible in Malta since 1911 in respect of Copyright and since 1899 in respect of inventions, trademarks and designs. 

Malta ratified the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1967 and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 1964.

In 1969 Malta ratified the Universal Copyright Convention and in 1977 joined the World Intellectual Property Organisation.  In 1994 Malta became a founder member of the World Trade Organisation and was thus bound by the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights as from 2000. That very same year the century old laws governing copyright, patents and trademarks were repealed and replaced by new legislation.  In 2002 new legislation concerning design was also introduced.

The Industrial Property Registrations Directorate (IPRD) within the Commerce Department is responsible for the registration of trademarks, certification marks, collective marks and designs; patenting of inventions; issuing of supplementary protection certificates in respect of pharmaceutical products and plant protection products as well as the recording of transfers, cancellations, amendments and renewals  relating to the aforementioned IP rights. 

This office also handles all IP policy, (including that in the area of Copyright) both on the national, regional (EU) and international level.   For this reason this office carries out the review and analysis of all documentation relating to IP topics being discussed in any forum.  This office provides technical direction and Malta’s position (following necessary consultation) on these matters.  In addition this office also participates in EU Commission and Council Meetings as necessary and in meetings organised by the European Patent office, the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

With particular reference to the patents remit, the relevant legislation is the Patent and Designs Act (Cap 417) and subsidiary legislation 417.02 and 417.03 on  supplementary protection certificates in respect of pharmaceutical products and plant protection products.  In 2007 Malta became a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the European Patent Office which provide for the protection of patents on an international and regional basis respectively.  The Office represents Malta on the Administrative Council of the European Patent Office and in the General Assemblies of WIPO which deals inter-alia with the PCT.

In so far as copyright is concerned,  the relevant legislation is the Copyright Act (Cap 417) and subsidiary legislation 415.01 on Control for the Establishment and Operations of Societies for the Collective Administration of Copyright, 415.02 on Revival of Rights and Neighbouring Rights and the Exhaustion of Distribution Rights and 415.03 on  Artists’ Resale Rights.  In 2009, Malta also acceded to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

With regard to the trademarks remit, the relevant legislation is the Trademark Act (Cap 416).  As from the date of EU accession, Malta automatically became part of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), responsible for European Union Trademarks and Designs. By default therefore all European Union Trademarks (as well as all Community Designs) are applicable to Malta and therefore also have protection in Malta.  This office represents Malta on the EUIPO Administrative Board and Budget Committee and also participates in Liaison meetings on Trademarks, Designs and Technical Cooperation.  In addition this office is also participating and implementing a number of projects under the Cooperation Fund  administered by EUIPO.  This fund seeks to create and provide tools and projects for the benefit of the national IP offices and for the users of the trademark and design systems in the EU. ‘