Bermuda New IP legislation

BermudaEprointNew IP legislation

By: Gabriela Bodden

While the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights differs broadly from one country to the next, in recent decades, the Latin America and the Caribbean region has taken steps to improve the overall IP ecosystem.

Bermuda’s trademark legislation is over half a century old, currently trademark registration periods are for seven years, and obtaining a trademark registration can take in some instances almost two years.

Mr. Vance Campbell, the Minister for Tourism and the Cabinet Office of Bermuda has said that “using the current UK legislation as a model in the redaction of Bermuda’s updated framework will enable more effective use of UK case law and practical guidance materials to assist in the administration of the trade marks regime and on this basis the government of this island is working toward the enactment of modern Trade Mark Legislation (this is the first priority)”.

Industry sources out of Bermuda and overall believe that there is an urgent need to update Bermuda’s intellectual property laws as this will make this island more business competitive.

According to the Royal Gazette of Bermuda Mr. Campbell, has also recently told Parliament that the modernisation of the legislative framework governing intellectual property rights will is an enormous undertaking for this island and would mean close collaboration among several Ministries making it necessary to put a special task force into operation.

Mr. Campbell also mentioned that the government’s objective is to make the legislation that governs trademarks, patents, registered designs and copyrights more fully aligned with UK and global standards and best practices.

Currently the reviewing of both the Trade Marks Act 1974 and the Patents and Designs Act 1930 is underway.

In addition to the above, the Minister has also said: “Modernisation of the trade marks legislation is entering the final stages of the drafting process. It is anticipated that a new principal Act and regulations will, in due course, be tabled before this Honourable House to replace the existing legislation governing trade marks in Bermuda” and this to us is music to our ears.

The Bermuda Government will submit a formal request to the UK for the extension of several international treaties aimed at having them applicable to Bermuda as well.

As it stands, the UK will also receive a copy of the draft legislation and will have a say, with the possibility of suggesting changes and making recommendations as well.

It might seem unbelievable but for example Bermuda’s legislation governing patents and registered designs is also long overdue, since the current legislation was enacted almost a century ago.

Bermuda’s Copyrights and Designs Act was enacted in 2004, however, a review is also necessary in order to provide for voluntary copyright ownership registration. And while copyright protection arises from the moment of creation of the protected right, without the need for formal registration, voluntary registration of ownership creates a public record of the copyright claim, and this puts others on notice of it. In some jurisdictions such as the USA, copyright registration is a prerequisite to filing a claim of copyright infringement.

Bermuda per se attracts investment, and with updated legislation the Minister said “Bermuda will be better situated to attract more companies to register their intellectual property rights here, once the legislative updates are in place”. 

The modernisation initiative aims for increased registrations from global market participants, increased government revenues, updated and more efficient administrative practices and processes, and access to well-established case law in the United Kingdom.

At Eproint we are closely monitoring the new legislative process in Bermuda in order to better counsel our clients.

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