Intellectual property (also known as industrial property) has been identified by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a key driver to trade in and between countries at all stages of development. It is also a recognised factor in encouraging and ensuring the appropriate levels of research & development and innovation amongst all scales of economic activity by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). There are therefore both economic and social purpose & benefits to a strong and vibrant IP environment in the Bailiwick.
Types of Intellectual Property
Intellectual property rights (IP) rights are divided into creative and industrial groupings by the international organisations (WTO & WIPO).
i) Copyrights and rights related to copyright
- These include the protection of literary and artistic works
ii) Industrial property (patents, designs and trade secrets)
- Protection of distinctive signs and in particular trade marks. This helps to protect consumers, enable them to make informed choices and also ensure fair competition
- Other types of industrial property are protected to stimulate innovation, research & development, design and creation of technology. Inventions, (protected by patents), designs and trade secrets are included in this category.
TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights)
More information about this important agreement can be found at the link here.
The agreement & council relating to TRIPS touches aspects of economic and community life in relation to intellectual property ranging from the effects of tobacco packaging to access to medicines.
As described by the WTO, it is an agreement which "attempts to narrow the gaps in the way these rights are protected around the world, and to bring them under common international rules. It establishes minimum levels of protection that each government has to give to the intellectual property of fellow WTO members. In doing so, it strikes a balance between the long term benefits and possible short term costs to society. Society benefits in the long term when intellectual property protection encourages creation and invention, especially when the period of protection expires and the creations and inventions enter the public domain."
The agreement covers five broad issues:
• how basic principles of the trading system and other international intellectual property agreements should be applied
• how to give adequate protection to intellectual property rights
• how countries should enforce those rights adequately in their own territories
• how to settle disputes on intellectual property between members of the WTO
• special transitional arrangements during the period when the new system is being introduced.
Intellectual Property in the Bailiwick of Guernsey
In the Bailiwick, these rights exist in the form of a suite of modern and dynamic legislation which is both in current operation and also due for implementation in the short and medium terms. Links to the full set of intellectual property legislation in Guernsey can be found here.
The Registrar of Intellectual Property & Authority in Law
In order to ensure that intellectual property matters are both administered appropriately and promoted in the community, there exists a Registrar of Intellectual Property and the Office of the Registrar of Intellectual Property. The role of the Registrar and Office are created in law (by statute) and more information can be found in the section of this site called Statutory Bodies.
Extent of Intellectual Property in the Bailiwick to Enhance the Economic Opportunity for the Islands
In addition to the broad categories of rights that are generally outlined above, the Bailiwick of Guernsey States of Deliberation has made a defined and specific decision to prioritise the development of intellectual property as part of the States Strategic Plan. [See also the relevant section of this site at the link here]. Therefore the Registrar in the role's strategic capacity is responsible for ensuring that the initiatives and objectives of the Office are instrumental in growing the economic opportunity for this jurisdiction.
The palette of intellectual property rights is extensive and the boundaries of benefits to the economy are wide-reaching and strong. Intellectual property services, expertise and availability are an extremely good fit with the existing economic activity on offer by the financial services sector. In addition, it is an opportunity for existing financial services providers to add value to their existing clients and attract prospective clients with additional, holistic service offers (these include copyright licensing; IP portfolio management; image rights protection and associated services; brand creation/protection and IP valuation and structuring).
The Registrar's promotion of the economic opportunity for IP is undertaken in conjunction with the Intellectual Property Commercial Interest Group. This group usually meets on a quarterly basis includes sectors of the economy such as telecommunications, film production, finance, fiduciary and legal.
The innovative and dynamic approach to the new legislation opportunities will further reinforce Guernsey's exciting and unique opportunities in this economic area.
For more information about the economic benefits of IP and the knowledge-based economy, please contact the Registrar of Intellectual Property at firstname.lastname@example.org
IP beyond the Financial Services & Legal Sectors
In addition to the commercial and industrial aspects of intellectual the existence of plant breeders' rights, registered design rights, patents and other associated rights not only encompasses the need for protection of large commercial industries but it also promotes and encourages small domestic operations to monetise the assets that they may be creating in the form of one or two new in-house initiatives.
For example, a plant breeder who creates a novel and beneficial variety of plant may use the relevant rights to create a brand, register and protect the new variety and establish a small or medium sized business with investment that results from being able to demonstrate a registered (and therefore tangible) asset.
Guernsey Intellectual Property Office Web Site
More information can be found about registration services, the Office of the Registrar of Intellectual Property, development initiatives and past media/presentations at the link here.
- Search Guernsey IP and make register submissions online