Following decades-long pressure from the private sector for IP law reform, the BVI now has modern trade marks legislation. The BVI's new Trade Mark Act, 2013 comes into force on 1 September 2015. The new law is complemented by the Trade Mark Rules, 2015 which comes into force on the same date.

The Financial Services Commission last week published application forms and guidance for those who wish to apply to be trade mark agents under the new law - as agents now need to be approved.

The new law replaces the archaic dual system where two types of trade marks registration hitherto existed for:

(1) Trade marks that were registered in the UK and sought to be re-registered in the BVI under the Re-registration of UK Trade Marks Act; and

(2) Trade marks that were intended to be registered in the BVI under the old Trade Marks Act.

These two pieces of legislation will be repealed on the coming into force of the new Trade Marks Act, 2013.

The new trade marks legislation is a much more modern regime. It hasnotable features including the ability to register service marks, and the inclusion of provisions relating to the registration, on the trade marks register, of particulars of a transaction granting any security interest over the relevant trade mark.

The new legislation is welcomed by the legal and financial services sectors in the BVI. Given the BVI's status as a premier jurisdiction for the establishment of international business companies,the development of the trade marks legislationwas seen as inevitable.The BVIcould no longer comfortablycoexist in the global economy with trade marks legislation that dated back more than 125 years!

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