Cyprus: Intellectual Property rights

English

At Georgiades & Associates, we provide legal assistance with regard to a full range of Intellectual Property (IP) rights and issues – both in domestic and cross-border situations and settings. Our main focus is on the clients’ needs, informing them of potential issues and relevant protections, therefore being proactive rather than reactive as well as innovative in the approach to IP matters. Through working with both small businesses and large corporations, the firm has a strong base of regular clients, whom we work with to constantly ensure that their best interests are protected.

Amongst other cases we have worked on a particularly interesting case involved the company Coca-Cola and concerned unfair competition and a trademark infringement in relation to a domain name, by a Cypriot from Limassol, Cyprus. The individual had registered on the Internet the domain name of Coca-Cola, www.coca-cola.com.cy, the result being that Coca-Cola could not register this name in Cyprus. An action was brought in the District Court of Nicosia seeking an order which would force the individual to return the name. The Court of First Instance did not approve the application. An appeal was filed in the Supreme Court and as a result the Court eventually ordered that the name be returned to Coca-Cola. It was the first time that such a matter had been examined by a court in Cyprus.

Intellectual Property in Cyprus is regulated by statutory legislation and the general principles of Common Law, such as the torts of passing off and malicious falsehood. The statutory laws are modelled on their English counterparts as well as on the provisions laid down in a number of international agreements. These can be further broken down into two categories, namely those which set out minimum harmonized standards of protection and those which provide for reciprocal arrangements regarding application or examination procedures for the registration of intellectual property rights. The statute mainly creates proprietary rights which prevent third parties from using and exploiting the subject protected by the rights, whereas the common law principles primarily provide rights of action.

IP is a fast-moving and ever-changing area of law which is often still overlooked by businesses. It may be due to the often complex parts of the different laws concerning IP and a lack of understanding regarding its importance in the everyday activities of one’s business. It is an area of law that has attracted much attention in more recent years worldwide.

The recent accession into the European Union and the growth of international business in Cyprus has brought about a greater awareness of the importance of IP to individuals and businesses and the need to protect IP rights. Cyprus is a signatory to a number of international agreements concerned with IP. In addition, Cyprus has made the necessary amendments to its laws in order to comply with the Acquis Communataire, thereby resulting in individuals enjoying better protection of their intellectual rights.

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