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Enforcement of IPRs in Belize


Enforcement of IPRs
Most of the counterfeit goods are sold online while making fake products deliberately look genuine. The sophistication in technology utilized by such counterfeiters makes it difficult for people to determine the fake products from the real ones. Therefore, the main cause lies in the fact that they are easily available and rarely detectable.
Clothes, cigarettes, CDs, and DVDs are the goods that most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Belize.
They are as follows:
  • The Patents (Amendment) Act No. 40 of 2005
  • The Copyright (Specified Countries) Order, 2001
  • The Industrial Designs Act (Commencement) Order, 2001
  • The Industrial Designs Act Cap. 254
  • The Trade Marks Act (Commencement) Order, 2001
  • The Copyright Act (Cap. 252, Revised Edition 2000)
  • The Protection of New Plant Varieties Act (Cap. 255, Revised Edition 2000)
  • The Protection of New Plant Varieties Act (Cap. 255, Revised Edition 2000)
Patents, Copyright, GIs, Utility Models, Industrial Designs, Plant Varieties, Trademarks, and Topographies of Integrated Circuits are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Belize.
*No prosecution for an offence under the aforementioned Acts shall be commenced after the expiration of 05 years upon the commission of the offence or 01 year after the discovery thereof, whichever date last occurs.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
A) Responsible Authority - Supreme Court
B) Imprisonment Term - Copyright: 18 months to 02 years on summary conviction, but up to 05 years on indictment; Trademarks: 03 years to 10 years upon summary conviction; Industrial Designs: 05 to 10 years
C) Monetary Fine - Copyright: $1,000 to $3,000, but may extend up to $5,000 on subsequent conviction; Trademarks: $3,000 -$10,000 upon summary conviction, and where the offence continues after the first conviction, to a further fine of one hundred dollars for every day such offence continues, or in default of payment of the fine to imprisonment for a period of 10 days for every day such offence continues; Industrial Designs: up to $5,000
Arbitration in Belize is governed by the Arbitration Act (Act), which was last amended in 1980 (1980 Ordinance). It has been nearly 40 years since the Act has been amended, and therefore, it has become somewhat outdated. However, the 1980 Ordinance has assisted in Belize's assimilation of a modern arbitration enforcement regime by incorporating the provisions of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958) (New York Convention) into the domestic law.
Concerning local arbitration, the Act makes standard provision for parties to submit disputes to arbitration and for applications to be made to stay as court proceedings pending arbitration.
The recourse to alternative dispute resolution mechanism is not frequently resorted to in matters of the IP law. However, due to the availability of the requisite framework, parties to the dispute may agree to resolve disputes by resorting to out-of-the-court settlement measures/techniques through mutual agreement.
A formal system of IPR recordation has not been fully established. However, the Customs and Excise Department collaborates with the Belize Intellectual Property office to furnish information on registered trademarks issued by the office. The trademarks act, however, has a provision dealing with restriction of importation of infringing goods.
In accordance with section 74 of the trademarks act, a person shall not be liable to any penalty other than forfeiture of goods by reason only that the goods are treated as prohibited goods by virtue of the said section.
It is the applicant who must bear the cost of customs intervention during the enforcement proceedings.
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in customs proceedings, the customs shall no longer be obliged to act in pursual of the notice mean by the proprietor of rights and may refrain from treating the goods as being prohibited.
The best practices for enforcement of intellectual property rights are court proceedings.