Isle of Man: International Tax and Business Guide 1999 - Investment and Business Factors - 5.Business Regulation

Last Updated: 27 August 1999


All limited liability companies must register with the Registrar of Companies in Douglas. Any non-resident company with a place of business in the Island must also register.

No company may be registered with a name which the Registrar considers undesirable. Before filing incorporation documents, therefore, the Registrar's approval for the proposed name should be obtained. If a business carries on its trade under a name that does not consist of the names of all its proprietors, it must be registered in the General Registry under the Registration of Business Names Acts 1918-54. Apart from this requirement, businesses not organised as limited liability companies do not have to file information in any official register.

In addition to the above requirements, banks and insurance companies must obtain approval and a license from the Financial Supervision Commission or the Insurance Authority (statutory bodies that supervise the Island's financial and commercial sectors), before commencing business in the Island.

The Investment Business Act 1991 controls and regulates the conduct of investment business. The following activities can only be conducted by appropriate licence holders:

  • dealing, arranging and managing investments
  • providing investment advice
  • operating and administering collective investment schemes

Investment business licences are issued by the Financial Supervision Commission who must be satisfied that the applicant can meet the "fit and proper" test criteria of integrity, solvency and competence.

All entities must comply with planning and environmental requirements. Additional criteria are imposed if a development is to be considered for government assistance.

The Island has a Data Protection Act broadly similar to that in the United Kingdom. Any Manx resident individual or entity that controls the content and use of computerised data on living and unidentifiable persons must follow specified practices in respect of such data, and must register with the Data Protection Registrar unless qualifying for one of a very limited number of exemptions.


Under Manx corporate law, it has not previously been possible to fuse two companies into a single company. An effective merger could be achieved only by the transfer of the business of one company to another, followed by the liquidation of the transfer company, or by the transfer of both companies' businesses to a third company. However, the Companies Act 1992 introduces with effect from 1 December 1992 merger relief whereby "merger accounting" techniques can be employed in group accounts rather than "acquisition accounting".


The Island does not have separate regulations governing intellectual property but is considered part of the United Kingdom for this purpose and is subject to the same regulations, summarised below.


An application for a patent must be accompanied by a specification and drawings, in duplicate, of the invention concerned. It is usual for an application to be submitted through a patent agent in the United Kingdom. All applications are subject to examination for novelty and inventive merit.

Under the UK's Patents Act 1977, which harmonised UK law with the provisions of the European Patent Convention, patents are granted for a term of 20 years, but with no renewal period. This Act gives inventors the right to be mentioned in specifications, and requires the Controller of Patents to publish an application as soon as possible. Employees' rights to inventions were strengthened by this Act, particularly as to the right to compensation in certain circumstances. Licenses can be granted by patent owners, and a compulsory license may be obtained by a third party if a patent remains unused. The United Kingdom, and therefore the Isle of Man, is a signatory to the Community Patent Convention as well as the European Convention, and is a member of the Paris Union for the protection of industrial property and the international Patent Co-operation Treaty of 1970.


Under the United Kingdom's Trade Marks Act 1938, trademarks are generally registered for 7 years from the date of the original application; registration may be renewed for 14-year periods thereafter. Marks may be assigned or licensed, subject to certain conditions.

If a mark is not used for 5 years, application may be made for its removal from the register. The United Kingdom is not a signatory to the Madrid International Agreement under which registered marks have protection in several other countries, mainly European. Accordingly, a UK or Isle of Man company should seek separate trademark registrations in other countries. Service mark protection has been introduced to complement the trademark rules.

Copyrights and Designs

Copyright is usually owned by the originator of artistic work, including the drawing of a mass-produced article, and is automatic on creation of the work; there is no registration procedure or fee. The normal term of the copyright is the life of the originator plus 50 years.

A copyright owner should mark his work with the international Ó symbol followed by his or her name and the year of first publication. This gives notice that copyright is claimed and is compulsory in some countries outside the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is party to the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions.

Registered designs are granted on application to the Design Registry for new designs which appeal to the eye. The procedure is similar to patents, and the term of registration is 5 years, renewable for two further 5-year periods.


The Isle of Man has well defined and comprehensive legislation in consumer protection and safety. A trading standards board was set up in 1981 to monitor practices and the implementation of the Sale of Goods Act 1979. The Island also has considerable environmental protection legislation. Protection of the Island's natural beauty features highly in the policy of the Manx Government.

The information given is not exhaustive and is based on conditions existing at 5 May 1999. Readers are advised to consult with professionals, such as independent accountants, legal counsel, and investment bankers, before taking any formal action. Deloitte & Touche would be pleased to discuss specific problems.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.