Types of IP

Intellectual property rights include patents, trade marks, copyrights, industrial designs, plant breeder’s rights, and trade secrets.

A trade mark is a unique way of identifying a product of service. It’s also referred to as a ’brand’ or ‘logo’.

A trade mark may consist of the words, images, numbers, letters, personal names, slogans, the packaging of goods, or a combination of any of these. Learn more

In the Cayman Islands, trade marks can be registered with CIIPO.

A patent is the right given to the owner of an invention. A patent can be a machine, drug or soap or a genetic engineering procedure. Learn more

United Kingdom and European Community patent rights can be extended to the Cayman Islands.

Copyright is the term used to describe the exclusive rights given to creators of original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works, so that they can publish, reproduce, perform or produce such works.

Copyright protection is automatic when you create an original work such as sound and music recordings, films; when you write a book or poem; or when you develop new software. Learn more

In the Cayman Islands, copyrights do not require registration.

Industrial design refers to the ornamental qualities of a product – such as the style of your watch, the shape of your living room lamp, or the contours of your mobile phone. These designs are the purely aesthetic features that make a product pleasing to your eye, and they can include shapes and patterns, as well as lines or colours.

If you own design rights, you have the exclusive right to use your design, including making, selling and importing items carrying your design. You also can prevent others from using the design; and you may decide to license or sell your design.

To protect your design rights, you must register your design with a national intellectual property office or registry.

The Cayman Islands does not currently register industrial designs, however, your design may be protected in the Cayman Islands as a work of art under copyright.

Industrial designs and plant breeder’s rights are currently not administered in the Cayman Islands.
What is a trade secret?

Do you have a special recipe or marketing scheme that contributes to the success of your business? Do you keep this special recipe or marketing scheme a secret? Do you only tell select members of your company your secret? Do you have them sign a non-disclosure agreement before disclosing the secret? If you answered yes to these questions, you have a trade secret.

Trade secrets are a form of intellectual property. They protect the confidential business information that gives you competitive advantages over your competitors.

Trade secrets can include a wide range of information, such as a method of manufacturing or a list of suppliers and clients.

How are trade secrets protected?

A trade secret does not need to be registered with national intellectual property offices. This means that trade secrets don’t expire. As long as you continue to keep your information a secret, it is protected.

To determine whether or not you have a trade secret, consider this:

  • Has the information been kept a secret? Is it not generally known in your business or among your peers?
  • Does the secret have commercial value?
  • Have you taken reasonable steps to keep the information a secret – for example, through a non-disclosure agreement?
In the Cayman Islands, trade secrets do not require registration