Malta has the potential to become an intellectual property hub – Minister Cardona

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Malta has the potential to become an intellectual property hub - Minister CardonaThe Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Dr Chris Cardona, has announced that the Government, in collaboration with the private sector, will be embarking on an initiative to make Malta an Intellectual Property Hub.

In light of the fact that intellectual property and knowledge industries are fast becoming the movers of the European and global economy, Minster Cardona said that a solid legislative framework must be put in place to ensure that industry players attracted to our shores are offered the highest levels of protection for their intellectual property.

In addressing these requirements, apart from creating greater certainty in terms of proprietary rights of these intangible assets, the Maltese legal framework ought to provide innovative ways for the proprietors of these rights to exploit and trade their assets as well as use them as a means in themselves for obtaining financing and raising capital, said Minister Cardona.

“Now is the time to review Malta’s legal, judicial and administrative framework to ensure that our island is truly attractive to the development of intellectual property,” reiterated Dr Cardona.

He added that, achieving this goal will require a coordinated, comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the sector, whereby legislation and developments taking place outside Malta will need to be looked into. “In this process, laws, taxes, fiscal incentives, market practices and trends will need to be analysed and Malta will also need to review IP-related treaties and agreements that it is subject to, as well as the options available for implementing EU and international measures.”

This series of studies will result in solid proposals for reform, and eventually legislation, which will help raise Malta’s attractiveness in the IP industry and make Malta an IP hub, Minister Cardona said.

Under current IP legislation a separate legislative instrument regulates each different form of IP rights. “It would make greater sense to consolidate the various IP laws into a Code, providing the knowledge sector with a solid, yet pragmatic legal framework,” said Minister Cardona.

He said that Such a Code would seek to:

• Create a unified electronic register for all forms of IP, where all registrations can be filed and searches conducted electronically from anywhere in the world;

• Introduce the concept of voluntary registrations of copyright, which as we all know is vital to a number of the industries Malta seeks to promote — ITC, digital gaming, film, music the arts, and so on.

• Introduce recognition and protection measures for novel forms of Intellectual Property, such as image rights and trade secrets;

• Introduce provisions enabling and facilitating the placing of IP as security for financing;

• Change legislation where it is not producing the desired results.

Minister Cardona said that the Government is keen on involving the private sector in a number of projects through public private partnerships and that even this new initiative can assume a public private partnership where the Government will provide the financial and logistic support and the private sector will participate in project management, research, legislative drafting and promotion of the concepts and ideas being developed.

“In the coming days I will appoint a Steering Committee to handle recommendations from those who wish to contribute to this project,” concluded Minister Cardona.

The professional contributors will be led and managed by Ganado Advocates, who conceived and put forward the proposal, together with Nexia BT as co-project managers. The role of the project managers will be that of organising and coordinating the initial phase of the studies, collecting the various proposals made by professional contributors and passing these on to the Steering Committee for further direction.

Dr Max Ganado, who also addressed those present, spoke about the vision and project concept in greater detail, and thanked Minister Cardona for his support and assistance in this initiative.

All parties interested in participating in this initiative and in providing their expertise and assistance, are encouraged to register their interest by sending an email to:

ip@ganadoadvocates.com

info@nexiabt.com.

Photograph: DOI/Pierre Sammut

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