Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Working in Europe | Intellectual Property Rights | Malta

One should start by firstly knowing the meaning of intellectual property rights (IPR) in order to be able to properly understand his or her rights in terms of trademarks, design, patents and copy rights. Intellectual property which is an intangible asset refers to the creations of the human minds for which exclusive rights are recognised. In this respect, innovators, artistes and business owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets for a specified duration.


There are 4 main types of IP as follows:

Patents are the broadest source of technical information which grant their owner a monopoly over an invention (a product or process that is new, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application) as defined by the “claims”.  An invention shall be patentable if it is novel, involves an inventive step and is susceptible of industrial application. Biological inventions may also be patentable subject to certain ethical and moral exceptions.

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IPR in Malta:

  • Malta is a member of WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation, UCC (Universal Copyright Convention), WTO (World Trade Organisation), the Paris Convention for the protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Upon accession to the European Union, Malta automatically became part of the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM), which is responsible for Community trademarks and designs.
  • Maltese law relating to Intellectual property has been updated and brought in line with most EU legislation in the field. The Industrial Property Registrations Directorate (IPRD) within the Commerce Department is responsible for the registration of trademarks, certification marks, collective marks and designs; patenting of inventions; issuing of supplementary protection certificates in respect of pharmaceutical products and plant protection products as well as the recording of transfers, cancellations, amendments and renewals relating to the aforementioned IP rights.