New trademarks legislation takes effect 1st August, which means for the first time, brand owners can register their marks in the Cayman Islands without first registering them in the UK or EU.
“They all want to do it, first thing on the first of August,” said HSM IP attorney Sophie Davies.
Ms. Davies told Cayman 27 with the new trademarks law taking effect Tuesday, local and international brand owners are clamoring to protect their marks.
“We have a first to file system in the Cayman Islands, so even if you have been using a mark or a brand logo in the Cayman Islands for some time, you do not have full protections under the trademarks law until you file your trademark,” said Ms. Davies.
What is a trademark? The Intellectual Property office’s website (CIIPO) said trademarks may consist of words, images, numbers, letters, personal names, slogans, the packaging of goods, or a combination of any of these that distinguishes the goods and services of an enterprise with those of its competition. Basically, they’re everywhere.
“I think potentially thousands of trademarks could get registered, there are so many businesses in the Cayman Islands,” said Ms. Davies.
Ms. Davies told Cayman 27 it’s technically possible for a copycat to register another entity’s mark.
“If you don’t file your trademark, and somebody beats you to it, you can file what’s known as an opposition to their application,” said Mr. Davies.
However she said that opposition process would likely be costly and time-consuming, and necessitate a high threshold of evidence to prove prior use of the mark.
“It’s easy to think that you are safe, but its too late to just act when you do see the copycat come along, you need to make sure that you are the first to file your trademark,” said Ms. Davies.
Ms. Davies said registering a trademark could cost hundreds of dollars, but the protection is good for a 10-year period.
Under the law, only registered agents can make the application. All the relevant paperwork is now available online at the CIIPO website.