By Candace Westby
Trade Mark Examiner
Ms. Westby works for CIIPO, which provides information about IP protection in the Cayman islands. Get Creating Cayman is a regular column on your rights and responsibilities under Cayman’s IP laws. For more info, visit email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Intellectual Property?
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), intellectual property refers to the creations of the mind such as literary and artistic works; names and images used in commerce; de-signs; and inventions.
An intellectual property right (IPR), like any other property right, allows the owner to use his creation for his benefit and to stop others from using his creation without his permission.
IP is divided into two categories: industrial property, and copyright. Industrial property includes pa-tents, designs and trade marks, while copyright protects works such as novels, films, and rights related to copyright such as performances.
Although intangible, IP rights are just as, if not more, valuable in a business as tangible assets. They can set your business apart from your competitors, and provide additional income. They also can serve as collateral for a loan, and they are essential to developing a marketing campaign.
Have you stopped to take stock of the amount of IP your business owns or uses? For example, your company logo is a type of IP known as trade mark. This means your marketing posters and ad campaigns are protected under copyright.
If you sell your product in a unique packaging created by your company, it may be protected as a design right; and any machines used in your manufacturing would be protected by patents.
We can even take this a step further. Do you sell food products us-ing a secret recipe that makes your product unique? If you do, you have a trade secret, which is an-other form of IP.
It is IP protection and IPRs that gives large companies like Coca-Cola the right to stop others from passing off their products as Coca-Cola’s. It is IP protection and IPRs that allow you to visit a Popeye’s in the Cayman Islands and the US and expect the same products, services and even look and feel of the restaurant. IP protection is far reaching!
Why is this all so important? In 2016 the Cayman Islands Government passed new laws for trade marks, and for design rights registration. We also amended the Pa-tents Law, and updated the Copyright Law.
These laws provide modern protection for all of Cayman’s creative people. They mean you will now be able to register a trade mark locally, extend a UK design right, continue to extend UK patent rights, and enjoy updated protection for your creative works under the Copyright Law. So get creating, Cayman!