Cyprus: Laws Of Cyprus With Commentary In World Intellectual Property Rights And Remedies


§ 73:1 In general

The courts and authorities in Cyprus adhere strictly to the relevant provisions of the law so as to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights against piracy and infringement. The constant flow of judicial decisions and the widespread interest in the subject following the ubiquity of the new technologies have made "intellectual property" an increasingly amorphous and fast-developing area of law, making it difficult to give clear-cut and enduring definitions. In practice, intellectual property is usually divided into two main categories, namely:

  1. Industrial property, i.e., patents, industrial designs, geographical indications and designations of origin, plant and seed varieties, trade marks, service marks, and trade names; and
  2. Copyright and related rights.

§ 73:2 Domestic law

Intellectual property in Cyprus is regulated both by statute and by the general principles of common law, such as the torts of passing off and malicious falsehood as well as the breach of confidence action which has its roots in equity. Whereas statute in the main creates proprietary rights prohibiting third parties from using and exploiting the subject protected by these rights, the relevant common law principles are primarily concerned with providing rights of action.

Moreover, these common law rights are complementary to the statutory formal rights, resulting at times in some overlaps, as, for example, between trade mark law and the tort of passing off. A detailed analysis of the law of passing off, malicious falsehood, and breach of confidence as it applies in Cyprus is outside the scope of this chapter. It should, however, be emphasised that these rights of action under common law and equity principles play a significant role in intellectual property litigation in Cyprus. The laws dealing with the statutory protection of intellectual property in Cyprus were thoroughly modernized in preparation for EU entry in 2004. They are:

  1. The Patents Law, Law Number 16(I)/1998, as amended by Law Number 21(I)/1999, Law Number 153(I)/2000, Law Number 163(I)/2002, and Law Number 122(I)/2006;
  2. The Trade Marks Law, Chapter 268 of the Laws of Cyprus, as amended by Law Number 63/1962, Law Number 69/1971, Law Number 206/1990, Law Number 176(I)/2000, and Law Number 121(I)/2006;
  3. The Partnerships and Trade Names Law, Chapter 116 of the Laws of Cyprus, as amended by Law Number 77/1977, Law Number 54(I)/2011 and Law Number 146(I)/2011;
  4. The Protection of Industrial Designs and Samples Law, Law Number 4(1)/2002, as amended by Law Number 70(I)/2003 and Law Number 119(I)/2006;
  5. The Copyright Law, Law Number 59/1976, as amended by Law Number 63/1977, Law Number 18(I)/1993, Law Number 54(I) of 1999, Law Number 12(I)/2001, Law Number 128(I)/2002, Law Number 128(I)/2004, Law Number 123(I) of 2006, Law Number 181(I) of 2007, and Law Number 207(I) of 2012;
  6. The Legal Protection of Semiconductor Topographies Law, Law Number 5(I)/2002, as amended by Law Number 122(I)/2006, Law Number 59(I)/2007 and Law Number 31(I)/2010;
  7. The Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications of Agricultural Products and Foodstuffs Law, Law Number 139(I)/2006;
  8. The Legal Protection of New Varieties of Plants Law, Law Number 21(I)/2004; and
  9. The Law for the Protection of the Commercial Exploitation of Cinematographic Films, Law Number 159/1990, as amended by Law Number 41(I)/1999.

§ 73:3 International agreements

Cyprus is a party to a number of international agreements, which can be divided into two broad categories, namely:

  1. Agreements laying down minimum harmonized standards of protection; or
  2. Agreements providing for reciprocal arrangements regarding application or examination procedures for the registration of intellectual property rights.

Following is a chronological list by date of ratification of the most important international agreements to which Cyprus is a party:

  1. European Agreement concerning Program Exchanges by means of Television Films, Ratifying Law Number 83/1969;
  2. European Agreement for the Prevention of Broadcasts transmitted from Stations outside National Territories, Ratifying Law Number 36/1971;
  3. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Act of Paris 1971), Ratifying Law Number 86/1979;
  4. The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Lisbon Act), Ratifying Laws Number 63/1965 and (Stockholm Act), Law Number 66/1983;
  5. The Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Ratifying Law Number 36/1984;
  6. The Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol, Ratifying Law Number 9/1985;
  7. The Universal Copyright Convention, Ratifying Law Number 51/1990;
  8. The Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms, Ratifying Law 21(III)/1992;
  9. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), Ratifying Law Number 16(III)/ 1995;
  10. The European Convention relating to Questions on Copyright Law and Neighboring Rights in the Framework of Transfrontier Broadcasting by Satellite, Ratifying Law Number 29(III)/1995;
  11. The Geneva Trade Marks Law Treaty 1994, Ratifying Law Number 12(III)/1996; 12. The European Patent Convention 1973, Ratifying Law Number 26(III)/1997;
  12. The Patent Co-operation Treaty 1970, Ratifying Law Number 27(III)/1997;
  13. The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, Ratifying Law Number 14(III)/1999;
  14. The WIPO Treaty on the Copyright and Agreed Statements, Ratifying Law Number 23(III)/2002;
  15. The Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks, Ratifying Law Number 3(III)/2003;
  16. The Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks, Ratifying Law Number 4(III)/2003; and
  17. The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, Ratifying Law Number 37(III)/2004.

The above brief outline of the wealth of intellectual property law applicable in Cyprus today can only serve as a starting point for further research and investigation into this challenging and constantly developing area of law. This chapter will focus on the three main proprietary intellectual property rights, namely, patents, trade marks, and copyright, and the protection afforded to their respective owners under Cyprus statute law.1

§ 73:4 Patents

The Patents Law 16(I)/1998 came into force on 1 April 1998 and introduced significant changes to Cyprus patent law. The most striking development was the establishment of an independent Registry of Patents under the supervision of the department of the Registrar of Companies and Offcial Receiver. This effectively provided for a direct patent application process in Cyprus and rendered the registration of a patent independent of the prior grant of the same in the United Kingdom, as was necessary prior to the enactment of the new Law.

The Law also enabled patents granted under the European Patent Convention or under the Patent Co-Operation Treaty to be recognized in Cyprus upon registration. A further development was the requirement that patents be published in the Official Gazette of Cyprus, thereby giving the right to any person to object to the grant of the patent concerned. Under the Patents Law, a register of patents is maintained to record the names and addresses of the patentees as well as any other information which is considered necessary by the Registrar for the identification of the owner of the patent.

Under section 26 of the Patents Law, rights and privileges of a patent are conferred for a term of 20 years from the date of filing the application. The maintenance of a patent depends on the payment of an annual renewal fee, the amount of which is designated in the Patent Regulations (Fees & Rights) of 1999, as amended.

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Originally published by Thomson Reuters West.


[Section 73:3]

1The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance received from the Ministry of Justice and Public Order and the Service for the Revision and Consolidation of the Cyprus Legislation in preparing the following extract material. Translations of relevant laws prepared by these bodies have been utilized to compile, in particular, the legislation on copyright. Any errors or omissions are, of course, the authors' responsibility. The law is stated as at 1 June 2013.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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