Protection of intellectual property rights is required by the Federal Constitution and by several multilateral treaties. The main statutes in this area are federal statutes. However, in case of litigation, some matters are subject to federal jurisdiction, and others to provincial jurisdiction.
Intellectual property framework
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.
In general, 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)
- Semiconductors – the Semiconductor Protection Act (Halbleiterschutzgesetz)
- Designs and utility patents – the Designs Act (Musterschutzgesetz)
- Trade secrets – the Unfair Competition Act (Gesetz gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb)
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 and Trade Secrets) of the Code of Economic Law
- Copyright – Title 5 (Copyrights and Neighboring Rights) of Book XI (Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets) of the Code of Economic Law
- Software – Title 6 (Computer Programs.) of Book XI (Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets) of the Code of Economic Law
- Database rights – Title 7 (Databases) and Title 5 (Copyrights and Neighboring Rights) of Book XI (Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets) of the Code of Economic Law
- Semiconductors – Title 8 (Topographies of Semiconductor Products) of Book XI (Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets) of the Code of Economic Law
- Trademarks – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005, as amended by the Protocol of December 11, 2017
- Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of February 25, 2005, as amended by the Protocol of December 11, 2017
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 trade names, company names, domain names and misleading and comparative advertising.
Intellectual property rights are governed by the Federal Constitution and Federal laws.
As a general matter intellectual property rights, such as patents and copyrights as well as the registration of trademarks, are governed by federal statutes.
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by Law No 17,336 of Intellectual Property, and Law 19,039 of Industrial Property. The different rights are administered and protected by different agencies in Chile. The main ones are the National Institute of Industrial Property (INAPI) and the Intellectual Rights Department (DDI).
In China, intellectual property rights are primarily protected under four major intellectual property laws, the Patent Law, the Trademark Law and the Copyright Law, the Anti-Unfair Competition 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 Administration of Market Supervision 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.
Colombia has a wide regulation on intellectual property consisting of international treaties, national laws and decrees, mainly governed by the decisions issued by the Andean Community (CAN). According to Article 6 of the National Constitution, the Colombian state has the obligation of protecting intellectual property. Article 151 of the Constitution states that Congress shall dictate the legal regime on industrial property, patents, trademarks and any other intellectual property that may be protected.
The Colombian Intellectual Property Regime is mainly regulated by CAN regulation, particularly Decisions 486 and 351. Intellectual property is comprised of 2 main groups of rights: copyrights and industrial property. Industrial property protects exclusive rights regarding trademarks, brands, slogans, designations of origin, patents over inventions and utility models, industrial designs and layout-designs of integrated circuits. These rights are recognized once the national authority on industrial property registers them.
Moreover, copyrights include 2 different rights: moral and economic rights that may be held by the same or different persons and are recognized since the creation of an original work (eg, software, literary work, musical work, work of art, audiovisual work and phonograms).
Furthermore, local regulation covers different and specific matters in accordance with Decision 689 of the CAN, such as certain terms, requirements and procedural rules applicable to the internal processes for recognized intellectual property rights.
Two main principles govern intellectual property in Colombia: territoriality and protection against unfair competition. The principle of territoriality states that relevant authorities may grant or recognize rights within the territories where they have competency. Nevertheless, international treaties may extend the protection of such rights to other countries. The principle of protection against unfair competition establishes that a right holder may defend a granted right against third parties, which allows free competition given that a right holder can prevent unfair practices as acts of confusion, discredit or exploitation of others’ reputations.
Czech law belongs to the continental system of law (or civil law, as opposed to common law). Regulations covering 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, SAR
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 No. 5 of 2013 of 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 laws:
- Law Number 28 of 2014 on Copyrights
- Law Number 13 of 2016 on Patents
- Law Number 20 of 2016 on Trademarks and Geographical Indications
- Law Number 30 of 2000 on Trade Secrets
- Law Number 31 of 2000 on Industrial Designs
- Law Number 32 of 2000 on Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits
- Law Number 29 of 2000 on Plant Variety Protection
The government body who has responsibility 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. The Minister of Law and Human Rights finally issued the Regulation of Minister of Law and Human Rights Number 8 of 2016 regarding Requirements and Procedure of Recording of Intellectual Property Licenses ("Minister Regulation No 8") on February 24, 2016.
The intellectual property regime in Ireland is primarily based on a modern legislative framework. There are some intellectual property rights that are governed by 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 Industrial Property Code (Legislative Decree No. 30/2005) the Italian Copyright Law (Law No. 633/1941) the Civil 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 statutory laws:
- Copyright – Law of 18 April 2001 on Copyright, Neighboring Rights and Databases, as amended, lastly by the Law of 3 April 2020 (the Copyright Act)
- Database Rights (sui generis right, distinct from copyright) – Law of 18 April 2001, as amended by the Law of 18 April 2004 and lastly by the Law of 10 February 2015 (the Copyright Act)
- Patent – Law of 20 July 1992 amending the System for Patents for Invention, as amended by the Law of 24 May 1998 and lastly by the Law of 18 December 2009 (the Patent Act)
- Trademarks – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of 25 February 2005 as approved by the Law of 16 May 2006
- Industrial Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of 25 February 2005 as approved by the Law of 16 May 2006
- Semiconductors – Law of 29 December 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
Article 50bis of the Luxembourg income tax law, providing for a specific tax regime applying for intellectual property rights, has been repealed by law of 18 December 2015 and no longer applies as from 1 July 2016. However, the new Lawlaw of 17 April 2018 introduces a new article 50ter which provides for an 80 percent partial tax exemption on the net income derived from eligible intellectual property assets as well as a 100% exemption from net wealth tax and applies from 1 January 2018 in parallel (and non-cumulatively) with the former regime (until the expiry of the grandfathering period under that regime, i.e 30 June 2021).
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 2005
- Designs – Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property of 2005
- Semiconductors – Act on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Semiconductor Products of 1987
- Database rights – Databases (Legal Protection) Act of 1999
- Trade name – Trade Names Act of 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.
Intellectual property rights in New Zealand are primarily governed by specific statutes: the Trade Marks Act 2002, Designs Act 1953, Patents Act 2013 and the Copyright Act 1994. However, these statutes have not codified New Zealand intellectual property law, and common law principles relating to intellectual property rights are still an important part of the intellectual property framework.
New Zealand has ratified the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). There are amendments to certain key intellectual property laws, including the Copyright Act 1994 and the Patents Act 2013, which are not yet in force, and are unlikely to come into effect unless the USA and other jurisdictions sign the TPP.
In Norway, intellectual property rights are governed by various Norwegian laws. Norwegian intellectual property legislation is based on various international agreements and EU directives and regulations implemented through the EEA agreement.
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 performers to their artistic performances, the rights of producers of phonograms and videograms, and the protection of personal images
- The Act on Combating Unfair Competition (ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), which protects trade secrets
Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 14, 2017 on the European Union trade mark
Council Regulation (EC) No. 6/2002 of December 12, 2001 on Community designs
The fundamental intellectual property framework in Portugal is provided in two main acts: the Code of Copyright and Related Rights (Decree-Law no. 63/85 of 14 of March, as amended) and the Industrial Property Code (Decree-Law no.110/2018 of 10 of December).
As a general matter, intellectual property rights are governed by statutory provisions, which are generally harmonized across the European Union.
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), 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.
There is no complex legislative act governing intellectual property rights as objects of legal protection in the Slovak Republic. Instead, intellectual property rights are subject to national law, law of the European Union and international law.
As regards the national regulation, this is divided into various specific legal acts concerning the respective object of intellectual property.
These objects may be:
- copyright, rights related to the copyright;
- industrial rights, rights similar to the industrial rights.
In addition, there are several regulations of the European Union on intellectual property which apply in the territory of the Slovak Republic, as one of the member states of the European Union. Also, the directives of the European Union on intellectual property have been implemented into the legal order of the Slovak Republic. The international treaties governing the intellectual property rights, applicable in the Slovak Republic, are stated in the following text as well.
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 the Copyright Act for original works of authorship; Trademark Act for trademarks; Patent Act for invention, utility model and design; and the Integrated Circuit Layout Protection Act for integrated circuit layouts. The Civil Code is the basic law for any other intangible property right.
Intellectual property rights in Ukraine are mainly regulated by Civil and Commercial Codes as well as specific laws pertaining to separate intellectual property objects. Further, Ukraine has ratified a majority of international treaties pertaining to intellectual property rights protection.
Following Ukraine's ratification of the EU Association Agreement, Ukraine is bringing its intellectual property legislation in line with EU standards. Specifically, changes to the regulation of geographical indications, trademarks, inventions, utility models and topographies are expected.
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 are addressed in the draft agreement for the UK's withdrawal and, if the draft cannot be finally agreed, will be subject to other changes, in particular as regards EU-wide rights such as the EU trademark.
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.