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Intellectual Property


Intellectual Property

Belize has recently enacted excellent laws for the protection of intellectual property including copyright trademarks, patents, layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, industrial designs and new plant varieties. Belize is also a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization and is a signatory to numerous international intellectual property conventions.

The attorneys of Glenn D. Godfrey & Company Co LLP offers complete and thorough counsel and assistance in the registration (if available) and protection of all types of intellectual properties in Belize. In addition, the firm provides representation associated with the protection of intellectual property rights in administrative or judicial proceedings.

Individual corporations in High-Tax jurisdictions may realize significant tax advantages by selling their Ownership of Copyrights, Patents, Trademarks, Licenses of Franchises to an offshore company usually in a single-payment purchase.

Read More about Trademarks and Patents in Belize.

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property is an entitlement to enforce incorporeal rights in mental creations such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, and images used in commercial or social-networking forums.

Intellectual Property is divided into two categories – Industrial Property and Copyright.

Industrial Property includes Trademarks and Patents. A Trademark is a graphic design or emblem used to distinguish the goods or services of a business or professional undertaking from the goods or services of other businesses or professional undertakings. A patent is the legal entitlement granted to protect an invention.

The other main area of Intellectual Property is Copyright. Copyright is the legal protection granted to the creator of an original literary or artistic work. This is the exclusive right granted to perform, authorize, or prohibit certain acts in relation to the Copyrighted work.

Trademark Fees

SEARCHES

Professional Fee

Government Fees

(a) Search where the search is to be followed by application for registration $50.00 $10.00
(b) Where search alone is conducted $150.00 $10.00

REGISTRATION & ASSIGNMENTS

(a) Application for registration(in one international class) $300.00 $212.50
(b) Each Additional Class (up to five classes total) $100.00 $37.50
(c) Recordal of Assignment $300.00 $87.50

RENEWAL & CHANGES

(a) Renewal (prior to expiration) $250.00 $162.50
(b) Renewal (after expiration) $250.00 $187.50
(c) Recordal of Changes $150.00 $87.50

CONTENTIOUS MATTERS

(a) Opposition to Registration of Mark ** $62.50
(b) Answer to opposition ** $62.50

OTHER MATTERS

(a) Application to record/cancel record/record transfer of licence-contract $250.00 $87.50
(b) Surrender of registration $200.00 $100.00

**Courier, Bank charges and other disbursemnets are billed to the client.

Intellectual Property in Belize

In 2000 Belize joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (www.wipo.org) and signed onto the Patent Cooperation Treaty (articles) and has since enacted a comprehensive set of modern TRIPS compliant Intellectual Property registration and protection laws.

All IP matters in Belize are dealt with by the Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) (www.belipo.bz) which also acts as the National Intellectual Property Registry.

Trademarks

Background

Prior to the enactment of the June 22, 2000 Trademarks Act, most Trademarks in Belize could only be protected through a system of so-called “Cautionary Notices”.  Only trademarks that had been registered in the UK could be registered in Belize. The new Trademarks Act repealed the United Kingdom Trademarks Act and the Merchandise Marks Act.  Any marks previously registered under the United Kingdom Trademark Act upon expiry required re-registered under the new Act. All marks previously “protected” by Cautionary Notices now required registration with BELIPO.

Nice Classification

Belize is a party to the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration Agreement (NICE).  The NICE Classification was incorporated into local Trade Mark Law by Direction issue under Rule 59 of the Trademark Rules as set out in BELIPO Intellectual Property Journal Vol. 6- No. 4.

Each country which is a party to the Nice Classification Agreement is obliged to apply the Nice Classification in connection with the registration of marks, either as the principal classification or as a subsidiary classification, and has to include in the official documents and publications relating to its registrations of marks the numbers of the classes of the Classification to which the goods or services for which the marks are registered belong. The NICE classification is available at: http://www.wipo.int/classifications/nivilo/nice/index.htm

Use of the Nice Classification is mandatory not only for the national registration of marks in countries party to the Nice Agreement, but also for the international registration of marks effected by the International Bureau of WIPO, under the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks and under the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, and for the registration of marks by the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI),  by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), by the Benelux Trademark Office (BBM) and by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trade Marks and Designs) (OHIM).

Application for Registration

An application for registration of a trademark must be made to the Registrar of Intellectual Property.4 The application shall be in the form set out in Schedule II (FORM NO. 3) to the Trade Marks Rules (the Rules),and shall contain a request for registration of a trademark, the name and address of the applicant, a statement of the goods or services featured in the application and a representation of the trademark.

The application must also contain a statement that the trademark is being used by the applicant or a licensee or that he has a bona fide intention to use the trademark.  The applicant must demonstrate a definite and present intention to deal in the goods or services for which the trademark is registered. The application is subject to payment of the application fee and other appropriate class fees prescribed in Schedule I to the Rules. Such payments shall be made in Belizean currency or in an equivalent amount in a convertible foreign currency. The filing date of the application is the date on which all the requirements highlighted earlier are furnished to the Registrar.

Renewal of Registration

Registration is for periods of ten years from the date of registration, with consecutive renewals after every ten years, indefinitely, subject to the payment of renewal fees. Requests for renewal should be made by the proprietor or his agent before the expiry of the registration, and failing this, the request should be made within six months after the expiration date, in which event the Applicant has to pay renewal fees and “additional renewal fees” as late registration fees; that is, double the renewal fees. Renewal takes effect from the expiry of the previous registration. Failure to renew a trade mark after the six months grace period results in the striking-off of the mark from the Register. A trade mark which is struck-off the Register for non-renewal may only be restored upon re-registration, which will be subjected to the same procedures as a registration commenced as a new application for registration.