Trademark registration doubles in Cayman

| 27/08/2018

CNS Local Life(CNS Local Life): There has been a surge in local registrations for company brands following the passing of a new Trade Marks Law, which is part of the modernised legal framework for intellectual property (IP) in the Cayman Islands. According to the Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office (CIIPO), applications have doubled over the past year.

Candace Westby, Head of Intellectual Property for CIIPO, said that under the previous law, they received an average of 300 applications for trade marks registration per year. But since the commencement of the new Trade Marks Law in August 2017 they have received 621 applications.

“CIIPO’s registration of trade marks, then, provides a key barometer for Cayman’s IP growth,” she said.

According to Deputy Registrar of Intellectual Property Donnell Dixon, government recognised a need for a new IP regime more than 15 years ago and after reviewing the former framework, charted a path in 2009 to modernise IP, including trade marks, design rights, copyright and patents.

“Once word got out years ago that government intended to revamp Cayman’s IP regime, industry stakeholders expressed interest in using the jurisdiction as their IP hub,” Dixon said. “We had great input on legislative changes from private sector representatives as well.”

In addition to the Trade Marks Law, last August government enacted legislation to facilitate the extension of design rights to Cayman. In 2016 government updated Cayman’s copyright law to widen the scope of creative media that are locally protected, and made minor adjustments to the patents law to give it its own distinction as a form of IP.

The full suite of IP laws now in force has resulted in additional legal expertise on island that assists companies and individuals to better protect their IP creations locally.

CIIPO’s two key roles are registering IP and providing information to the local and global public about IP protection in Cayman. Westby explained that as part of the modernisation, copyrights do not require local registration, and design rights that previously had no protection in the Cayman Islands can now be registered by extension in Cayman.

Over the past year CIIPO has been building public awareness about Cayman’s new IP regime through efforts such as information sessions with members of the Sister Islands and numerous media appearances. Within government, it has conducted training for the Department of Commerce and Investment, and Customs.

CIIPO’s own staff has also attended training through the UK’s IP Office in Wales and the International Trademark Association’s annual and leadership meetings.

Going forward, government will continue to attract IP business by continuing to strengthen its legal framework, a government press release stated.

Westby said that before 2017, people were not able to protect “the unique physical appearance of an item, or part of it, at all in Cayman. Then last August, the new Design Rights Law passed to allow for protection by way of extension.”

She added, “We’re currently drafting design rights legislation that would allow for direct registration in the future and eliminate the need for the extension system.”

For more information on IP in Cayman, visit the CIIPO website or email

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Category: Local Business

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