All questions

Intellectual property

Barbados has demonstrated its commitment to the enforcement of intellectual property rights through its commitments to international agreements, as well as through the enactment of local legislation. The country signed the Paris Convention on intellectual property rights, the Nice Agreement, and is a member of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization. There are also specific laws that provide for the protection of intellectual property, namely the Patents Act (Chapter 314), Trade Marks Act (Chapter 319), Industrial Designs Act (Chapter 309), Copyright Act (Chapter 300), and the Protection against Unfair Competition Act (Chapter 329A).

i Brand search

A search for protected trademarks and other intellectual property is typically conducted at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO), a division of the Ministry of International Business and Industry. CAIPO is responsible for various aspects of industrial property right affairs such as patents, trademarks and industrial designs.

CAIPO has an electronic intellectual property registry system that allows persons to search a database of all registered intellectual property. After logging into the computerised system, the choice can be made to query trademarks or patents. A trademark query will display a list of search fields such as filing date, registration date, list of Nice classes of words contained in the trademark and the like. After selecting one or more of the criteria and executing the search, all the items matching the criteria will appear. Upon making the selection choice, all relevant information pertaining to the trademark will appear such as, for example: application number and type, sign type, mark image, colour description, Vienna classes, Nice classes and status. A physical search of written name cards with all relevant information can also be performed as soft copies of intellectual property information are also filed and stored.

ii Brand protection

All trademarks, patents and industrial designs should be registered in Barbados to ensure protection of the rights provided under Barbados intellectual property laws. It is the responsibility of the rights holders to register, protect and enforce their rights.

An application for registration of a trademark or other intellectual property must be filed at CAIPO pursuant to the requirements of Section 10 of the Trade Marks Act. The application form (Form 3) must contain a clear reproduction of the sign that is filed for registration and must list all the classes that apply to the goods or services being offered. The cost of the application is Bds$75 and five copies of the mark must be submitted along with the application.

iii Enforcement

Protection is afforded for Intellectual Property under the Patents Act (Chapter 314), the Trade Marks Act (Chapter 319) and the Industrial Designs Act (Chapter 309).

Redress for actual or threatened infringement is by way of injunction, damages or an order for the erasure, removal, obliteration, delivery or destruction of the offending material. Penalties for competition offences or infringement range from a fine of Bds$5,000 or two to six years' imprisonment to Bds$20,000 or 10 years' imprisonment. Continuing offences attract additional fines of Bds$500 per day.

iv Data protection, cybercrime, social media and e-commerce

There are no laws specifically governing e-commerce. However, legislation and regulation related to cybersecurity has been enacted through the Privacy and Data Protection Act, which is in the draft stages and should be finalised very soon.

Additionally, there has been active dialogue on e-commerce and improving security in Barbados. In April 2015, the island's commerce minister spoke about this move at a seminar entitled 'The impact of e-commerce on entrepreneurs and small businesses: cybercrime, intellectual property rights and maintaining your web presence'.