By: Patrice Muhammad, and Gabriela Bodden
Hamilton, October 4, 2023 – The Senate of Bermuda has taken a historic step forward in intellectual property protection with the approval of the Trade Mark Act 2023 (The Act).
The Trademarks and Service Marks Regulations Amendment and Validation Act 2023 modernises Bermuda’s 1974 legislation and this significant legislative milestone signals a transformative shift in Bermuda’s Trade Mark framework and underscores the island’s commitment to bolstering the country’s intellectual property framework, aligning it with international standards, and catering to the evolving needs of businesses in the digital age. The Act introduces several key provisions aimed at modernizing and strengthening Trade Mark protection in Bermuda.
One of the most important aspects of the new act is that it now provides for the registration of service marks, when this was not possible under the 1974 laws. The new Act also puts the register of trademarks into a single category, as opposed to the two categories under the old legislation.
Trade Mark registration and renewal terms will move from seven (7) and fourteen years (14) respectively to ten years each. In recognition of evolving branding practices in the digital age, The Act expands the scope of what can be registered as a trade mark. In addition to traditional symbols and words, the new Trade Mark Act includes provisions for the registration of non-traditional marks, including sounds and colours and this is quite novel for Bermuda.
The Act will introduce specific provisions to combat online Trade Mark infringement, recognizing the challenges posed by the digital economy.
These measures equip trade mark owners with the tools they need to protect their brand identity in the digital landscape and combat online counterfeiting and cybersquatting.
The Act also strengthens the enforcement of rights, providing trade mark owners with more robust tools to combat infringement. This includes the ability to seek injunctive relief and claim damages in cases of trade mark violation.
Mr. Walter Roban, the Home Affairs Minister, has manifested that the updates had taken “great care and attention” in bringing the island into alignment with the Nice Classification, along with the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Overall, by fostering a secure environment for intellectual property, Bermuda aims to nurture innovation, creativity, and economic growth. The Trade Mark Act 2023 encourages investment in intellectual property and branding, positioning Bermuda as a hub for innovation and commerce.
The approval of the Trade Mark Act 2023 reaffirms Bermuda’s dedication to intellectual property protection and its commitment to creating a conducive environment for businesses and creators. As Bermuda enters this new era of trade mark legislation, stakeholders can look forward to a more efficient, comprehensive, and innovative Trade Mark protection system.