Barbados has comprehensive legislation for the protection of intellectual property, and is in compliance with the World Trade Organisation’s (“WTO”) Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”) requirements in this area. The Acts and Regulations cover patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, integrated circuit topographies, geographical indications, plant breeders’ rights and unfair competition.
Barbados is party to the following treaties relating to intellectual property:
- Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
- Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
- Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organisation (“WIPO”)
- Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks
- International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations
- Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
- Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol
- World Trade Organisation (including the TRIPS Agreement)
There are no substantive prior approvals by national investment boards.
Documents used in intellectual property related applications generally do not require notarisation, but copies of documents submitted in support of applications must be certified.
Licences of intellectual property are governed by the specific legislation. Generally, licences must be registered with the Intellectual Property Office. In some cases, compulsory licensing is permitted (patents, integrated circuits, plant breeders’ rights)
Specific exceptions or requirements:
Patents: discoveries; scientific theories and mathematical methods; games, business schemes and mental acts; surgical or therapeutic treatments; diagnostic methods: biological processes and immoral or environmentally prejudicial inventions are not patentable. However, products invented for use in these methods are patentable.
Trademarks: The Trademarks Act, Chapter 319 of the laws of Barbados, prohibits registration of marks that are similar or identical to other marks or existing registered business names, well-known marks and other inherently unregistrable marks as defined in the Act.
Geographical indications: marks registered in good faith before 19 February 2001 or before the geographical indication is protected in its country of origin are not prejudiced.
Currently arrangements for payment of royalties are largely unregulated, although there are local bodies which facilitate the payment of royalties both locally and abroad. There is a Copyright Tribunal which has been set up under the Copyright Act, Chapter 300 of the laws of Barbados.
Competition law: The Protection Against Unfair Competition Act provides protection against unfair competition practices by both private and commercial entities and official government authorities, providing for criminal and civil proceedings against offenders whose conduct in the course of commercial or industrial activities is contrary to honest practices (particularly actions in the nature of passing off, misleading the public, damage to goodwill or reputation, disclosure of secret information), and actions leading to unfair commercial use as a result of disclosure by an official of data submitted to an authority for approval.