Guernsey’s Patent Law

In her article Proposed DIFC Intellectual Property laws – A Hub for Innovation, Madeleine Heal proposed legislation whereby foreign patents, trade marks and designs could be re-registered for the Dubai International Financial Centre. A footnote to her article referred to the position in Guernsey so I decided to find out more.

Guernsey has its own Intellectual Property Office and its own intellectual property laws the most interesting of which is The Registered Patents and Biotechnological Inventions (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Ordinance, 2009. This Ordinance provides for the registration in Guernsey  of patents that have been registered overseas:

“Only the oversea registered proprietor of an oversea registered patent may be registered as the proprietor of a patent in the Register of Patents, and in this Ordinance –

(a)      an “oversea registered patent” means a patent registered in a designated country in accordance with the laws relating to the registration of patents in force in that country,

(b)      the “oversea registered proprietor” of an oversea registered patent means the person registered in a designated country as the proprietor of that patent in accordance with the laws described in paragraph (a), and

(c)      a “designated country” means a country or office mentioned in Schedule 2.”

The list of designated countries in Schedule 2 includes not just the UK and the European Patent Office but the USA, China, India, Russia and several other countries.  More interesting still is that there is no equivalent to s.1 (2) of the United Kingdom Act. Hence patents for business method and software inventions granted by say the US Patent and Trademark Office can be registered in Guernsey.

Most interesting of all is that the revocation of a patent overseas does not necessarily result in the patent’s revocation in Guernsey.  That gives rise to all sorts of possibilities which are explored by the Guernsey lawyer, Elaine Gray, in her fascinating article “Guernsey gets ‘IT’: Ditching the domino and the ‘Bilski’ bonus.”

Now why has 73 square kilometre bailiwick off the coast of France enacted this interesting statute? My guess is that it has something to do with IP securitization. We don’t hear much of securization nowadays probably because mortgage backed securities were the means by which bad debts were offloaded onto investors.  But that does not mean that the idea of lending money against future royalties or other income streams and spreading the risk as a means of raising funds for start-ups is a bad one.


About Jane Lambert

I am a barrister specializing in intellectual property, technology, media and entertainment and competition law. I specialize in helping SME (small and medium enterprises) protect and exploit their investment in brands, design, technology and the arts. SME require intellectual property (legal protection for their intellectual assets) at least as much as big business but their limited means restrict the way they can use it. Looking after such clients wisely requires skills and knowledge which have taken me years to learn.
This entry was posted in Guernsey, Intellectual property strategy, Patents, securitization. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Guernsey’s Patent Law

  1. Filemot says:

    Why should a Guernsey inventor not have patent protection in his home territory? this scheme of things is a very long-standing method for enabling patent monopolies to be created in small territories where a patent office simply isn’t justified. We are now choosing to adopt the same model for Europe. If the regional patent gets off the ground, UK IPO may find itself even more under threat as a resource for local inventive businesses.
    IP securitisation usually requires the patent owning vehicle to be incorporated in an offshore territory. That patent owning vehicle doesn’t really need a local patent, it needs to own the ones that earn the royalties and to be able to receive that income in a tax efficient manner.

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