7 February 2013

Caribbean IP Part 26: Turks and Caicos Islands

ISO 3166 country code: TC.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a non-sovereign nation, a British Overseas Territory. As such they are not able to sign up to international agreements. However, they can make reference to them in their own IP legislation and in this connection, reference is made to the UK Trade Marks Act and Community Trade Mark within its trade marks legislation.

Trade mark legislation is modern with the latest Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules dating from 2011. The Turks and Caicos Islands allow for local applications and they are well up-to-date in using the International Classification and allowing service marks.

It is also possible to extend UK trade marks to the islands and this provision is now also available to Community Trade Marks and International Registrations. 

The Turks & Caicos Islands Financial Services Commission administers the Trade Marks (and Patents) Registry. Their web presence provides  a fairly decent brief overview on trade marks.

Like with other British territories, Madrid Protocol membership is not on the horizon. In 2009, the UK Government imposed direct rule on the islands following a corruption scandal (home rule being restored recently) but unilaterally imposing the Madrid Protocol on any territory would not be made.

As for designs, there does not appear to be any legislation catering for these.

The Turks and Caicos Islands operate an organised trade marks system. The main gripe trade mark proprietors have is that annual maintenance fees are due against trade marks. As with the Cayman Islands, these put a large financial burden on maintaining trade marks in a jurisdiction with a tiny population; the population is estimated at under 50,000.