In order to meet the EU intellectual property legislation, Malta has renewed its law regarding the protection of copyright, patents and trademark. In 2007, Malta became member of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty and, in 2009, it became a signatory member of WIPO Copyright Treaty and Performances and Phonograms Treaty. Malta’s legislation for intellectual property protection comprises: the Trademarks Act, the Patents and Designs Act, the Copyright Act and the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act.
An invention will be considered a patent in Malta if it brings novelty and if it can find applicability in the industrial sector. In Malta, biological inventions can be patented if certain moral requirements are met. Patents have a 20-year period of validity from the application date and a maintenance fee will be collected starting the third year. The owner of a Maltese patent will use it exclusively and, only with his or her authorization, the patent will be used by third parties. In order to apply for a patent, the following documents are necessary:
- an application form;
- a solicitation for the approval of the patent;
- the description of the patented invention;
- one or more utilizations;
- drawings representing the description or the utilization of the patent;
- an abstract of the patent.
Maltese laws recognize a trademark as any graphic sign intended to distinguish products or services from others. Any letter, word or combination of words, numbers, colors or shapes can be considered a trademark. The author of a trademark has exclusive rights in using it. Usually, Maltese companies use trademarks for marketing purposes.
In order to apply for trademark registration, the following documents must be provided:
- a solicitation for the registration of the trademark;
- the identification of the applicant;
- a declaration of the products or services the trademark will represent;
- a depiction of the mark to be registered;
- a statement for priority in case the applicant wants to use a request submitted before;
- if the trademark is already in use, the applicant must give his/her consent;
- if any colors will be used, the applicant must declare the names of these colors;
- if a representative has been appointed, a copy of his identification must be provided;
- the proof of the registration fee.
In Malta, any literary work and audio-visual work is considered intellectual property and falls under the legislation of the Copyright Act. In Malta, artistic work receives copyright protection even if it was not previously registered, sufficing to be made public. Copyright offers its authors moral and economical rights. Copyrights are available for 70 years after the death of its author.
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