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Intellectual Property in Malta

Intellectual Property in Malta

Updated on Monday 02nd March 2020

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Intellectual-Property-in-MaltaIn order to meet the EU intellectual property legislation, Malta has renewed its law regarding the protection of copyright, patents and trademarks. 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.
 
Below, our lawyers in Malta present the most important aspects related to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights. You can rely on us for assistance in registering various types of intellectual property rights in Malta.
 

Intellectual property legislation in Malta

 
The Maltese government treats intellectual property protection seriously and has enabled various laws which support those who seek to obtain such rights. There are several laws under which a person or company in Malta can register trademarks, copyrights, industrial models and designs and patents.
 
The main laws providing for intellectual property protection are:
 
  1. The Copyright Law which provides for the protection of various literary works and other creations;
  2. The Trademarks Act which provides for the protection of signs and marks registered in Malta;
  3. The Patents and Designs Law which provides for the protection of designs, models and patents;
  4. The Intellectual Property Rights (cross-border measures) Law which provides for the protection of various creations registered in Malta;
  5. The Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (Regulation) Law which provides for the implementation of the intellectual property laws;
  6. The Trade Secrets Act and the Commercial Law as there are various transactions related to intellectual property rights that can be completed in Malta.
 
Our Maltese lawyers can provide in-depth information on the all the regulations that provide for the protection of intellectual property rights provided that they are acquired by registration with the relevant authorities.
 

IP protection levels in Malta

 
Those who want to register various IP rights should know that there are several levels of protection that be obtained. The first level is the national one, meaning that any citizen or resident of Malta, but also companies incorporated here or abroad can register a trademark or other rights deriving from intellectual property creation with the Comptroller of Industrial Property.
 
It is also possible to register various IP rights at a European Union level, as Malta is a member state of this country. IP registration at EU level will imply filing an application form with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The advantage of EU registration is that a trademark or other IP right will benefit from enhanced protection and recognition on the territories of all member states.
 
An intellectual property right obtained in Malta can also be registered at an international level with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The main requirement for obtaining world recognition of a Maltese trademark or other IP right is to first have it registered in Malta.
 
Our law firm in Malta can offer assistance in registering various type of IP rights and acquiring various degrees of protection.
 

Intellectual property in the commercial sector in Malta

 
As seen above, the Commercial Law and Civil Law in Malta also contain provisions related to the protection of intellectual property rights. One of the most important aspects related to the protection of IP is by creating a holding company in Malta used for holding various intellectual property rights.
 
Holding companies are very advantageous from a taxation point of view, as they can obtain various tax exemptions and deductions on the royalties incomes they obtain.
 
Prior to 2007, Malta had a specific regime for International Trading Companies, however, after this year, a company created for the purpose of owning intellectual property rights can be incorporated as a limited liability company with a very low share capital (approximately 1,200 euros) and benefit from the corporate tax applicable in Malta.
 
If you need information on the taxation of companies in Malta, our lawyers can guide you.
 
You can also rely on our attorneys in Malta for assistance in any IP litigation case.
 
 

Patent protection in Malta

 
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.
 
If you need guidance in filing for patent application, our Maltese law firm can help you. We can also represent you in the relation with the relevant IP authorities in Malta.
 

Trademark protection in Malta

 
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.
 
You can rely on our Maltese lawyers for assistance in drafting and submitting the forms for registering a trademark in Malta.
 

Copyright protection in Malta

 
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.
 
You can count on our lawyers in Malta if you need assistance in registering a copyright with the Comptroller for Intellectual Property.
 

Intellectual property statistics in Malta

 
 
  • Malta became a member of the Organization in 1977;
  • in 2018, the income generated by IP filings represented 18.45% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product;
  • in 2018, Malta had a total number of 60,903 classes of trademarks in the application filed with WIPO;
  • in the same year, the country had a total number of 1,140 designs in industrial design registrations.
 
If you want to open a company and you need details about copyright protection, you can contact our law firm in Malta.