How to Protect your Business Idea
Necessity may be the mother of innovation, but certainly the intellectual property rights can be considered as the guardian angel of your business idea.
Trademarks, patents and copyrights are different types of Intellectual Property Rights and each protects something very specific.
A trademark is a word, phrase symbol or design that identifies and differentiates the source of products/services (service mark) from different providers.
A patent is a property right with limited lifetime concerning an invention.
A copyright protects the works of authors. (eg. Music and Books)
The Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver ‘Registrar’ in Cyprus is responsible for maintaining the register of Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs. As Cyprus is a member of both the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the ‘Registrar’ acts as a receiving office of European and International applications. Additionally the national patents are granted according to the Cyprus Patent Legislation.
Furthermore, the island is a member of the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and, consequently, if you will submit any community Trade Mark applications they can be filed directly at the ‘Registrar’.
In cases where Cyprus is chosen in a European (EPC) or International (PCT) application, the applicant has the obligation within three months (after the grant and publication of the European patent) to submit to the ‘Registrar’, a translation of the patent specifications for registration purposes.
Both Patent and Trade Mark applications should be submitted by an advocate registered with the Supreme Court of Cyprus.
In Cyprus, Copyright is automatic and requires no registration. The Law protects Cypriot nationals for their work which is published anywhere in the world and nationals of foreign countries for work which is published in Cyprus. Only the owner of a Copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce, translate and offer his work for sale. Persons who infringes this right, are liable for reimbursing damages and penalties under the Law.
For more detailed information regarding the Immovable Property Rights laws, any interested party can address their question to the ‘Registrar’.
Other legal tools that can assist you protecting your business idea might include the following:
- Sign Confidentiality Agreements with anyone you work with, to restrict them from sharing confidential information about your idea with third parties.
- Add a clause in your employment contracts to prevent any of your employees from starting a rival business within an established radius.