The Maldives has experienced significant growth in the last decade, and this has largely been by driven by economic activities such as tourism, fisheries, trade and construction, with contributions from transport and communications.
But over these years, Intellectual Property Rights as a part of business and investment has been overlooked, and its importance and value to trade and investment has been mainly unexplored.
As Maldives businesses are venturing into the global arena in all sectors, and our youth increasingly engaged in different fields of business, value of intellectual property is being acknowledged, and efforts for the protection of these rights are gaining momentum. There has been a greater drive in the global markets for the protection of intellectual property rights, leading countries to embrace these changes.
As such, the Ministry of Economic Development established an Intellectual Property Unit within its structure in the year 2007, and has been making efforts to educate businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, general public, and other stakeholders on all aspects of IP rights. Additionally, the Ministry has also been working on drafting and adopting the relevant legislations related to intellectual property.
The Ministry’s efforts came to fruition when the Copyright and Related Rights Law was passed in October 2010, and became effective on April 2011. With the passage of Copyright Law, literary and artistic works are now protected, and a registration system for these works has been established within the Ministry.
The Ministry is currently working on the key pieces of legislation to protect the other essential part of intellectual property – industrial property rights. Specifically, work is being carried out for the passage of Trademarks Law and Geographical Indications Law.