Intellectual property rights (other than trade secrets and common law trademark rights) are governed by the laws of the Commonwealth (ie, at a federal level) and interpreted by court judgments (ie, common law). There are no state or territory-based intellectual property laws.
Intellectual property framework
In general, the intellectual property rights in Austria are governed by specific Federal statutory laws, as follows:
- Copyright – the Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz)
- Patent – the Patent Act (Patentgesetz)
- Utility Models – the Utility Model Act (Gebrauchsmustergesetz)
- Trademarks – the Trademark Act (Markenschutzgesetz)
- Semiconductor Protection Act (Halbleiterschutzgesetz)
- Designs and utility patents – the Designs Act (Musterschutzgesetz)
- Trade Secrets – not yet regulated
Certain other statutory laws protect other manifestations of intellectual property that do not fulfill the requirements of the intellectual property types cited above in various ways (in particular the Act on Unfair Competition (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb), which imposes a more general prohibition or limitation to takeover of other persons' intellectual works and offers certain amount of protection for trade secrets and know-how, the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch), which penalizes certain trade secret related actions, and the Commercial Code (Unternehmensgesetzbuch) and Company Register Code (Firmenbuchgesetz), which provide protection for names and company names).
In general, intellectual property rights in Belgium are governed by the following Federal statutory laws:
- Patent – Title 1 (Patents) of Book XI "Intellectual Property" of the Code of Economic Law
- Copyright – Title 5 (Copyrights and Neighboring Rights) of Book XI "Intellectual Property" of the Code of Economic Law
- Software – Title 6 (Computer Programs.) of Book XI "Intellectual Property" of the Code of Economic Law
- Database rights – Title 7 (Databases) and Title 5 (Copyrights and Neighboring Rights) of Book XI "Intellectual Property" of the Code of Economic Law
- Semiconductors – Title 8 (Topographies of Semiconductor Products) of Book XI "Intellectual Property" of the Code of Economic Law
- Trademarks – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005
- Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005
In addition, certain other statutory laws may protect other manifestations of intellectual property that do not fulfill the requirements of the intellectual property types cited above, such as know-how, trade and industrial secrets, trade names, company names and domain names.
The new Commercial Code (the Code of Economic Law of 28 February 2013), which is referred to above, codifies and modernizes the present commercial and intellectual property legislation.
Intellectual property rights are governed by the Federal Constitution and Federal laws.
As a general matter intellectual property rights are governed by Federal statutes.
In China, intellectual property rights are primarily protected under three major intellectual property laws, the Patent Law, the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law, and their Implementing Regulations. In addition, there are a large number of regulations, rules, measures, policies and opinions issued by the Standing Committee of National People's Congress, the State Council and various administrative authorities which further address issues concerning application of the intellectual property laws. The judicial interpretations made by the Supreme People's Court also form a part of the legal framework.
Czech law belongs to continental system of law (or civil law, as opposed to common law). Regulations of intellectual property rights are primarily set out in various statutes issued by Czech Parliament.
The most important statutes are the following (each of them as amended from time to time):
- Act No. 121/2000 Coll. on Rights Related to Copyright (Copyright Act)
- Act No. 527/1990 Coll. on Inventions and Improvement Proposals (Patents Act)
- Act No. 441/2003 Coll. on Trademarks (Trademarks Act)
- Act No. 478/1992 Coll. on Utility Models (Utility Models Act)
- Act No. 207/2000 Coll. on Protection of Industrial Designs (Industrial Designs Act)
- Act No. 529/1991 Coll. on Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products (Topographies of Semiconductor Products Act)
- Act No. 206/2000 Coll. on Protection of Biotechnological Inventions
- Act No. 408/2000 Coll. on Protection of Plant Variety Rights
- Act No. 452/2001 Coll. Protection of Designations of Origin and Geographical Indications
- Act No. 221/2006 Coll. on Enforcement of Industrial Property Rights
- Act No. 89/2012 Coll. Civil Code (Civil Code), providing general framework of civil law and regulating trade secrets
Many of these pieces of legislation are in compliance with relevant EU legislation, as the Czech Republic is a member country of the European Union.
In general intellectual property rights are governed by EU regulations and directives as well as by Danish law.
The Finnish intellectual property legislation is largely impacted by European Union (EU) directives and regulations. Some of the national legislation has been jointly drafted with other Nordic countries. In addition to specific IPR legislation, the law relating to unfair business practices is also relevant between commercial entities. For cases of deliberate or grossly negligent infringement, criminal law provisions may also apply.
France is a civil law country.
Most of the rules and requirements applicable to intellectual property rights derive either from French law or European Union law and are codified in the French Intellectual Property Code.
German Constitution (Grundgesetz) refers protection of copyright and industrial property rights to exclusive legislation. In cases of exclusive legislation, only the Federal government has the legislative power.
Hong Kong has an established legal framework for the protection of intellectual property rights in patents, trademarks, copyright and registered designs under various ordinances.
Intellectual property rights are governed by individual state acts. In questions not specified by these acts, the Hungarian Civil Code (Act 5 of 2013 on the Hungarian Civil Code) is applicable.
Since Hungary is a member of the European Union, each intellectual property act shall be in line with the respective EU directives and regulations. In addition, certain EU regulations apply directly.
As a general matter intellectual property rights are governed by Federal statutes. However, trade secrets are not specifically protected by any legislation though they may be protected as contractual obligations, subject to the Indian Contract Act 1872 (Contract Act).
The intellectual property framework consists of the following key laws: Law Number 28 of 2014 on Copyright; Law Number 13 of 2016 on Patents; Law Number 20 of 2016 on Trademarks and Geographical Indication; Law Number 30 of 2000 on Trade Secret; Law Number 31 of 2000 on Industrial Design; Law Number 32 of 2000 on Layout-Design of Integrated Circuits; and Law Number 29 of 2000 on Plant Variety Protection. The new degree No. 8 of 2016 regarding recording of intellectual property licenses in the Directorate General of Intellectual Property was issued on February 24, 2016.
The government body responsible for the administration and registration of intellectual property rights in Indonesia is the Directorate General of Intellectual Property Rights under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia.
Intellectual property rights are largely governed by statutes, with the exception of the protection of confidential information (otherwise referred to as trade secrets), which is governed by contract and common law.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are statutory rights with the exception of trade secrets, which are protected under Israel's Commercial Tort Law as a civil tort.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by the Italian Civil Code, the Legislative Decree No. 30/2005 (the Industrial Property Code) and ad hoc legislation.
Intellectual property rights including patent right, utility model right, design right, copyright, trademark right and trade secrets are specified and protected under each relevant intellectual property law.
In general, the intellectual property rights in Luxembourg are governed by the following Federal statutory laws:
- Copyright – Law of April 18, 2001 on Copyright, Neighboring Rights and Databases, as amended by the Law of April 18 2004 and lastly by the Law of February 10, 2015 (the Copyright Act)
- Database Rights (sui generis right, distinct from copyright) – Law of April 18, 2001, as amended by the Law of April 18 2004 and lastly by the Law of February 10, 2015 (the Copyright Act)
- Patent – Law of July 20, 1992 amending the System for Patents for Invention, as amended by the Law of May 24, 1998 and lastly by the Law of December 18, 2009 (the Patent Act)
- Trademarks – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005 as approved by the Law of May 16, 2006
- Industrial Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005 as approved by the Law of May 16, 2006
- Semiconductors – Law of December 29, 1988 on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products
- Professor's Privilege/Ownership of publicly funded research – Special laws on the public funding of research results
A notable recent change in Luxembourg tax law includes suppression, since 1 July 2016, of article 50bis of the Law of 4 December 1967 on Income Tax, which established a partial exemption (80%) of revenue from intellectual property.
Two Federal laws provide the core legal basis for protection of intellectual property rights in Mexico:
- The Industrial Property Law (Ley de la Propiedad Industrial)
- The Federal Copyright Law (Ley Federal del Derecho de Autor)
In the Netherlands, the intellectual property rights are governed by the following Federal statutory laws:
- Copyright – Copyright Act of 1912
- Software – Regulation regarding software is included in the Copyright Act of 1912 (see chapter VI of the Copyright Act of 1912) implementing the EU Directive of May 14, 1991 on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs (91/250/EEG)
- Patent – Patents Act of 1995
- Trademarks – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005
- Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005
- Semiconductors – Act of October 28, 1987 on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products
- Database rights – Databases (Legal Protection) Act of July 8, 1999
- Trade name – Trade Names Act of July 5, 1921
In addition, certain other statutory laws may protect other manifestations of intellectual property that do not fulfill the requirements of the intellectual property types cited above, such as know-how, trade and industrial secrets, company names, domain names and misleading and comparative advertising.
The regulations governing intellectual property rights in Poland include:
- The Industrial Property Law Act (ustawa prawo własności przemysłowej), which regulates patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks and service marks, mask works and geographical indications
- The Act on Copyright and Related Rights (ustawa o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych), which covers the protection of the rights of authors to their works, the rights of producers of phonograms, and the protection of personal images
- The Act on Combating Unfair Competition (ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), which protects trade secrets
The fundamental intellectual property framework in Portugal is provided in two main acts: the Code of Copyright and Related Rights and the Industrial Property Code.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by Part IV of the Russian Civil Code.
Intellectual property rights are protected by a number of laws that have been passed by Royal Decree and are enforced by the courts. All laws in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are subject to Shari'a principles.
The KSA generally operates by reference to the Hijri (or Islamic) calendar for official purposes. Careful attention is therefore required when making reference to protection periods and any timeframes associated with the different intellectual property rights, to ensure that relevant deadlines are not inadvertently missed.
Intellectual property rights are governed by a body of local legislation in Singapore such as the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore Act (Cap. 140), Patents Act (Cap. 221), Copyright Act (Cap. 63), Registered Designs Act (Cap. 266) and Trademarks Act (Cap. 332) among others (as amended and supplemented from time to time). The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore ("IPOS") oversees and advises on the application of this legislation.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by various Korean intellectual property statutes, including the Patent Act (PA), the Copyright Act (CA), the Utility Model Act, the Trademark Act (TMA), the Design Protection Act, the Unfair Competition Prevention and Trade Secret Protection Act (UCPA) and the Semiconductor Chip Act (SCA).
The Spanish Constitution establishes in the Article 149.1.9 that intellectual property rights shall be governed by Spanish National Statutes only. Self-Governing Regions (the Spanish equivalent of US states or German Länder) are not entitled to issue laws in this field.
Intellectual property rights in Sweden are protected by various laws. Swedish intellectual property legislation is based on various European Union (EU) directives and regulations. The protection of trade secrets is provided for by law.
Intellectual property rights are governed by Federal statutes and by international treaties.
Intellectual property is regulated and protected in Taiwan under various laws, such as Copyright Act for works; Trademark Act for trademark; Patent Act for invention, utility model and design; Integrated Circuit Layout Protection Act for integrated circuit layouts, and the Civil Code is the basic law for any other tangible and intangible property right.
United Arab Emirates
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), intellectual property rights are governed by the following Federal Laws:
- Federal Law No. 15 of 1980 (Printed Matter and Publishing Law)
- Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 (Copyright Law)
- Federal Law No. 17 of 2002 (Patent Law)
- Federal Law No. 37 of 1992 as amended by Federal Law No. 8 of 2002 (Trademark Law)
- Federal Law No. 19 of 2016 on Combatting Commercial Fraud (Anti Commercial Fraud Law)
In addition, the UAE is a civil law jurisdiction, so the laws and regulations are codified. Court judgments are not routinely published. Moreover, UAE courts are not bound to follow the prior decisions of superior courts, although they are treated as persuasive. On this basis, it is difficult to predict with a degree of certainty how the law will be applied by the court.
Intellectual property rights are governed by a variety of statutes and common law. The substantive provisions are generally equally applicable throughout the United Kingdom (comprising England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). As the UK is currently part of the European Union (EU), some of its intellectual property law derives from EU legislation.
The UK's vote in June 2016 to leave the EU has no immediate consequences and does not affect the position of the UK as an EU member state. There are no immediate changes to IP rights in the UK; however, the scope and status of these rights will be covered by exit negotiations, which are likely to continue until 20181.
1For the latest on legal developments related to Brexit, please see our Brexit information page.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by Federal statutes with certain exceptions, such as trade secrets, that are also governed by state law.