Answer ... The Cayman Islands has a robust IP regime designed to protect most forms of innovation in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands Intellectual Property Office, a division of the Cayman Islands government’s General Registry Department, is the point of contact with respect to such matters in the Cayman Islands.
Copyright: The Cayman Islands recently updated its copyright laws to bring them into line with the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. For example, the regime in the Cayman Islands now expressly includes protection for computer programs and databases within the definition of ‘literary works’.
Trademarks: The Trade Marks Law allows fintech companies to obtain trademark protection in the Cayman Islands.
Patents: Patents and industrial designs registered in the United Kingdom or at the European level can also be protected in the Cayman Islands by extension with the Cayman Islands Register of Patents and Trademarks. The Cayman Islands regime also prohibits bad faith infringement claims by ‘patent trolls’.
Trade secrets: Trade secrets are capable of protection in the Cayman Islands through a combination of contractual arrangements, common law and rules of equity. For example, confidential information can be protected through:
- contractual agreements requiring relevant counterparties to treat relevant information as confidential and not otherwise disclose the information other than in accordance with the provisions of the agreement or as otherwise compelled by applicable law;
- common law obligations which can be enforced to keep information confidential based on the nature of the relationship between the discloser and disclosee (eg, a fiduciary relationship as would apply between an employee and his or her employer); and
- equitable remedies (eg, injunctions or orders for specific performance) that would prevent the use or disclosure of trade secrets.
Answer ... Innovation in the fintech space is incentivised in the Cayman Islands through:
- the lack of direct taxation in the Cayman Islands;
- the friendly regulatory environment, which actively encourages this type of business;
- the lack of a requirement for fintech entrants to have a physical presence in the Cayman Islands – although for those that do pursue this approach, the special economic zone provides a streamlined and cost-effective solution;
- the Cayman Islands’ status as one of the foremost offshore financial centres and being well regarded by investors in all jurisdictions;
- the Cayman Islands’ status as home to approximately 70% of the world’s offshore investment funds, which provide fintech business with ample sources of potential capital;
- the fact that 47 of the top 50 banks in the world have some type of presence in the Cayman Islands; and
- the jurisdiction’s familiarity and popularity among global investors, sound legal framework, stable government, modern infrastructure and state-of-the-art communication systems.