BVI in focus: cruises and luxury goods


BVI in focus: cruises and luxury goods

Strahil Dimitrov /

On each day of the INTA annual conference in Orlando we are asking lawyers in the British Virgin Islands some questions about IP. Today, Jamal Smith, president of the BVI Trademark Association, discusses which industries are most affected by counterfeiting.

What are the biggest challenges currently facing trademark owners in the BVI?

A recent development has to do with the fact that the BVI is known as a leading financial centre within the global marketplace and several international financial brands also have to ensure that they are protected to avoid misuse of their brands. This is an extension of the traditional problem of corporate name squatting where companies are incorporated in the BVI with names that are similar to internationally recognised brands.

There are adequate safeguards in place to protect international brand holders from the misuse of their brands by corporate name squatting, including injunctive relief and administrative actions that allow the Registrar of Corporate Affairs to change the name of companies especially where there are existing rights, such as a registered trademark, that can be proved at the time the squatting company was incorporated.

Which industries are most threatened by counterfeits?

The industries most threatened by counterfeits in the BVI are luxury goods, perfumes and clothing. With the BVI being one of the top ten tourist destinations in the Caribbean for both cruise tourism and overnight visitors, brand owners must ensure that the sale of luxury goods, perfumes and articles of clothing are not counterfeit products which can damage their brands with the almost 400,000 tourists a year who visit the BVI annually.

British Virgin Islands, trademark, INTA 2016, Jamal Smith