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Brexit: Intellectual property rights in Gibraltar

Geo-blocking

Gibraltar has a small population of around 35,000 people but is rated in the top 20 global territories for gross domestic product per head. This is largely due to Gibraltar’s generous tax system, financial services, and internet gambling. The chief executive of Bet365 (online gambling) earned £323 million in 2019.

Gibraltar does not have an intellectual property (IP) office of its own. Protection is usually gained by the extension of rights covering the United Kingdom (UK). Some rights (e.g., registered designs) cover Gibraltar automatically, but for most, action must be taken to gain protection.

Prior to Brexit:

  • European Union (EU) rights automatically extended to Gibraltar.

Changes post Brexit to IP in Gibraltar:

  • The UK government extended the territorial effect of five IP treaties to cover Gibraltar from 1 January 2021. They are the:
  1. Paris Convention;
  2. Patent Cooperation Treaty;
  3. Madrid Protocol (on international trade marks);
  4. Nice Agreement (on trade mark classifications); and
  5. Berne Convention (on copyright).
  • A bill was passed by the Gibraltar Parliament on 11 December 2020 which made some changes to trade mark and patent law in Gibraltar. It is now the Trade Marks and Patents (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2020. The changes include:
  1. International trade mark applications filed on or after 1 January 2021 designating the UK will have affect in Gibraltar. The World Intellectual Property Organization has clarified that this also applies to designations of the UK filed after 1 January 2021.
  2. UK comparable trade marks will have effect in Gibraltar, whether they resulted from an EU designation of an international trade mark registration or a direct EU trade mark application. A UK comparable trade mark is one which corresponds to an EU trade mark which were in force on 1 January 2021, it automatically came into existence at the end of the transition period.
  • A UK registered trade mark does not automatically cover Gibraltar. If cover is required, a request must be filed at Companies House Gibraltar.
  • UK registered designs automatically extend to Gibraltar under the Gibraltar Designs Act 1928. This also apples to UK comparable designs (corresponds to EU design in force on 1 January 2021, which automatically came into existence at the end of the transition period).
  • Any patents granted in the UK, filed on or after 1 January 2021 which result from the Patent Cooperation Treaty will automatically have affect in Gibraltar. National UK patents and EP (UK) patents must be extended to cover Gibraltar; the extension must be requested within three years of issue.

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