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      Intellectual Property Rights

      Intellectual Property Rights

      Introduction

      Mauritius is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and signatory to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Berne Convention. WIPO essentially aims at protecting the "creation of mind", hence providing enhanced incentives to individuals and societies to engage in innovation, invention and in creation of new ideas.

      The key to the expansion of the global economy is the contribution of new knowledge and ideas as a crucial factor in sustained economic growth and development. Digital technology, the Internet, biotechnology, information technology and communication, as well as a host of other such developments play a critical role in what is termed 'the knowledge economy.' Intellectual Property (IP) is increasingly recognized as an economic asset as Mauritius moves towards a knowledge-based economy. The capacity to tap the IP assets will be a determining factor in the development of the economy during the next decade.

      Intellectual Property Development Plan

      Given the prominent role that Intellectual Property (IP) plays on the economic and cultural development, it was considered imperative that Mauritius' Intellectual Property policy be reinforced so as to mainstream IP in its economic and social development and to promote innovation and creativity. In order to achieve this objective, an Intellectual Property Development Plan (IPDP) has been developed with the assistance of WIPO. The IPDP seeks to ensure, amongst others, that the organisations involved in IP enforcement, the potential users as well as generators of IP have the technical capacity and know-how to use IP as a tool to promote research, innovation, investment and economic growth.

      The IPDP recommends, amongst others, that the following be implemented:

      • Finalize and enact the Industrial Property Bill;
      • Expedite the accession process to the PCT, Madrid Protocol and Hague Agreement;
      • Establishment of a single IP office based on international best experiences;
      • Strengthen the legal framework to cover protection of new plant varieties;
      • Provide IP promotional materials such as the PANORAMA Multimedia Toolkit and WIPO comic books and support their translation into the country's national languages; and
      • Design and implement intellectual property awareness programmes tailored to meet the needs of enforcement officers and create and strengthen awareness of consumers on the adverse impact of IPRs infringement.

      Download the Intellectual Property Development Plan of Mauritius

      IP Legislation in Mauritius

      In Mauritius, the legislative framework for IPR enforcement initially provided for the protection of copyrights, trademarks, patents, with the Patents Act 1875, the Trademarks Act 1868 and the Copyright Act 1986 being the oldest legislation. The IPR enforcement mechanism took a new turn in 1995 when the TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement of the World Trade Organization came into effect. In order to conform the country's legislation to the principles and obligations laid down in the TRIPS, new pieces of legislation were adopted, namely:

      • The Copyright Act 2014 and
      • The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2017
      • The Patent, Industrial Designs and Trademarks Act 2002
      • The Protection Against Unfair Practices, Industrial Property Rights Act 2002
      • The Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act 2002
      • The Geographical Indications Act 2002
      • However the Layout Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act 2002 and the Geographical Indications Act 2002 have not yet been proclaimed.

        Industrial Property Act 2019

        The Industrial Property Bill was adopted by Parliament on 30 July 2019 and became an Act on 9 August 2019. It is a consolidated Act encompassing all different elements of Industrial Property, namely, Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Utility Model, Plant Varieties, Geographical Indications and Layout Design of Integrated Circuits. The objective is to have a holistic approach to the legislative framework governing IP in Mauritius and to provide for the protection of all the different components of IP.

        The scope of the Industrial Property Act is larger in nature since additional intellectual property rights, such as utility model, new plant varieties, geographical indications and layout-design of integrated circuits, are covered and will be protected.

        The Act also makes provision for Mauritius to adhere to WIPO administered Treaties, namely:

        • The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for the international registration of Patents;
        • The Hague Agreement for the international registration of industrial designs; and
        • The Madrid Protocol to facilitate the registration of Trademarks.

        Such a legislation would facilitate investment and promote Mauritius as a commercial platform, giving a country a head start in the region.

        The new Act is now awaiting to be proclaimed, following normal procedures in the country.

        Download the Industrial Property Act here.

        Information Booklets on Copyright, Trademarks and Patents

        With a view to nurture creativity at various levels, namely primary levels, extending to secondary schools, and universities and ultimately culminating in the workplace and civil society, WIPO has published some comics books that explain in layman's terms what are Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks. They are designed to foster the creativity and inventiveness of future generations, while at the same time raising awareness about the value of intellectual property. These can be downloaded both in English and French languages below:

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