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Legislation

Legislation concerning intellectual property in the Isle of Man is made up, in part, of Acts of Tynwald and, in part, of Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament which have been extended to the Island. Intellectual property can generally be divided into:

  • rights that do not require registration, and are protected as soon as they arise, e.g. copyright and rights in performances; these are mostly protected by Acts of Tynwald or by orders or regulations made under Act of Tynwald;
  • those rights that require registration to attract protection, eg. patents and trade marks; these are mostly protected by Acts of Parliament

A          Unregistered Rights

Copyright Act 1991

The Copyright Act 1991 replaced the Copyright Act 1956 (of Parliament) which had been extended to the Isle of Man. The 1991 Act was to a large extent based on Part I of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and brought the copyright law of the Island into line with that of the United Kingdom.

The Copyright Act 1991 has been amended, most recently by the Copyright (Amendment) Regulations 2013. Among other changes, these extended the duration of copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work from 50 to 70 years from the death of the author dies, adjusted the duration of copyright in sound recordings and films, and extended copyright to cover the communication of a work to the public by electronic transmission.

Design Right Act 1991

The Design Right Act 1991 introduced protection for industrial designs in the Isle of Man, based on Part III of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. 

Performers’ Protection Act 1996

The rights of performers were first protected in the Isle of Man by the Performers’ Protection Act 1966, which was based on Part II of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and was passed to enable TRIPS, an international agreement imposing new standards for worldwide international property rights, to be extended to the Island. The Act has recently been amended by the Performers’ Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

Copyright (Amendment) Act 1999

Part 2 of the Copyright (Amendment) Act 1999 introduced special rights of protection for the compilers of databases, based on Part III of the UK Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997. The Act has recently been amended by the Database Right (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

Copies of the Acts listed above can be found on the Isle of Man Legislation website.

B          Registered Rights

The following Acts of Parliament establish registration systems for certain types of intellectual property, applying to the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man as a single territorial unit. The Acts have effect in the Isle of Man subject to certain modifications made by Order in Council. Registration is effected by the UK Intellectual Property Office (formerly known as the Patent Office).  

Patents Act 1977

UK patent legislation has applied to the Isle of Man since 1852.  The current Act of Parliament relating to patents is the Patents Act 1977, which is modified in its application to the Isle of Man by the Patents (Isle of Man) Order 2013 (SI 2013/2602).

Registered Designs Act 1949

The system of registration of decorative designs has applied to the Isle of Man since its introduction in 1883. It is presently governed by the Registered Designs Act 1949, which is currently modified in its application to the Registered Designs (Isle of Man) Order 2013 (SI 2013/2533).

Trade Marks Act 1994

Trade mark registration was first introduced in 1975, and applied to the Isle of Man in 1883. The present legislation is the Trade Marks Act 1994, which is currently modified in its application to the Isle of Man by the Trade Marks (Isle of Man) Order 2013 (SI 2013/2601).

The above Acts and orders are available on the UK legislation website.

Community Trade Mark Order 1998 (SD 671/98) and Community Trade Mark Regulations 1998 (SD 672/98)

These instruments apply to the Isle of Man the EU regulations relating to the Community trade mark and provide for their enforcement in the Island.

The Department is presently modernising the Island’s existing IP legislation. To find out more click on ‘IP modernisation’ on the left hand menu.

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