The Isle of Man has ratified the key international IP treaties/conventions and, as such, an Isle of Man company is the best offshore vehicle for holding IP rights.

The Isle of Man and Intellectual Property

The Isle of Man has fully developed laws protecting IP rights. The IP laws of the Isle of Man are based on the relevant statutes of the UK, subject to certain modifications, either by way of an extension of the UK IP Acts to the Isle of Man (in the case of trademarks and patents) or by virtue of Isle of Man law mirroring a particular UK IP Act (in the case of copyright). Further, registration of trademarks and patents are done through the UK's Intellectual Property Office which allows potential applicants to submit an online application.

The table below highlights the numerous key international treaties/conventions in relation to trademarks, patents and copyright, which have been extended to the Isle of Man:

The 2006 Act Company

A company incorporated under the Isle of Man Companies Act 2006 (a "2006 Act Company") is business friendly in that, amongst other things:

  • a 2006 Act Company is simple and quick to incorporate and easy to administer;
  • there is confidentiality of the registers of directors and shareholders; and
  • the declaration and payment of dividends/capital contributions are subject only to a simple statutory solvency test.

The Isle of Man's favourable tax regime

In addition to the flexibility of the 2006 Act Company, there is no corporation tax or stamp duty payable in the Isle of Man. Further, no capital gains tax is payable upon a sale of any IP assets and there is no withholding tax payable on dividends or IP licence payments. As a result, royalties received may be accumulated in a favourable tax environment.


Cains is a leading international law practice incorporated in the Isle of Man. Cains has received various prestigous awards in recognition of its provision of legal services of the highest standards to its international clients. In April 2009, Cains gained the Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a British business.

In addition to its Isle of Man headquarters, Cains has offices in London and Singapore.

Cains Fiduciaries Limited

Cains Fiduciaries Limited ("CFL") is licensed by the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission to provide collective investment scheme and corporate services together with Isle of Man trust services. CFL provides administration services to many of the world's largest and best known financial and commercial institutions in respect of structures established in the Isle of Man, the BVI, Cyprus and elsewhere. The value of assets under management and administration by CFL is materially in excess of US$12.5 billion.

CFL operates from offices in the Isle of Man and Singapore.

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.