9 November 2012

Caribbean IP Part 15: Guyana

ISO 3166 country code: GY.

Guyana is located on the South American continent but is widely considered a part of the Anglophone Caribbean and sometimes referred to as 'Mainland Caribbean'. As a part of the West Indies it has a unique love of cricket in South America (although Argentina has long played the game too) and is a part of the CONCACAF (Central America and Caribbean) football federation. The Guyanese capital, Georgetown, is also the seat of the Secretariat of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community.

The Deeds Registry looks after the administration of patents, trade marks and designs. Their website contains only basic information.

The Trade Mark Register is split into three parts: Part A, Part B and Part C. Part A and Part B are typical in much Commonwealth trade mark legislation; for example, they were parts of the UK Trade Marks Act 1938. For those of you in the US, they have similarities with the Principal and Supplemental Registers.

Part C of the Register is for marks based on UK registrations. This part of the Register is the only way multi-class applications and service marks can be registered in Guyana at the minute. Community Trade Marks cannot be used to form this basis and neither can International Registrations even if they designate the United Kingdom.

Designs are available locally in addition to UK designs automatically covering Guyana although there is a defence for infringers if they could not know of the design in Guyana which suggests if there is no use or disclosure in Guyana after registration (e.g. in the UK only), a registered design owner would be prevented from taking action. A Registered Community Design would not provide the same protection.

Patents are available locally although it is also possible to base an application on a UK patent provided it is filed within three years of grant.

The Deeds Registry suffers from delays in the processing of applications. Having a UK IP registration in place can greatly speed up the processes, although at least there are independent routes to protection available when you do not have - or it is undesirable to seek to obtain - a UK registration.

Madrid Protocol membership seems some way off, although it could form a part of future updating of local IP laws.