What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property is a form of legal entitlement which allows its holder to control the use of certain intangible ideas and expressions. The term intellectual property reflects the idea that once established, such entitlements are generally treated by courts, especially in common law jurisdictions, as if they were tangible property. The most common forms of intellectual property include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. It also entails an entitlement to enforce incorporeal rights in mental creations such as inventions, literary and artistic works, symbols, names, and images used in commercial or social-networking forums.

Intellectual Property is divided into two categories – Industrial Property and Copyright.

Industrial Property

Industrial Property includes Patents for inventions, Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications. A Trademark is a graphic design or emblem used to distinguish the goods or services of a business or professional undertaking from the goods or services of other businesses or professional undertakings. A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention - a product or process that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem.

The second category of Intellectual Property is Copyright. Copyright is the legal protection granted to the creator of an original literary or artistic work. It covers literary works (such as novels and plays), films, music, artistic works (e.g., drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures) and architectural design. This is the exclusive right granted to perform, authorize, or prohibit certain acts in relation to the Copyrighted work.

Intellectual Property in Belize

In 2000 Belize joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (www.wipo.org) and signed onto the Patent Cooperation Treaty and has since enacted a comprehensive set of modern TRIPS compliant Intellectual Property registration and protection laws.

Below is a list of (and links to) the relevant statutes and regulations and the date of their enactment.

Date of Text


June 21, 2000

Designs, Act (Ch. 254), 21/06/2000, No. 13 Industrial Designs Act (Chapter 254) (Revised Edition 2000), 2 text(s)

June 21, 2000

Integrated Circuits, Act (Ch. 256), 21/06/2000, No. 15 Protection of Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Act (Chapter 256) (Revised Edition 2000), 2 text(s)

June 21, 2000

Plant Variety, Act (Ch. 255), 21/06/2000, No. 16 Protection of New Plant Varieties Act (Chapter 255) (Revised Edition 2000), 2 texts

June 21, 2000

Patents, Act (Ch. 253), 21/06/2000, No. 14 Patents Act (Chapter 253) (Revised Edition 2000), 2 text(s)

June 22, 2000

Copyright, Act (Ch. 252), 22/06/2000, No. 12 Copyright Act (Chapter 252) (Revised Edition 2000), 2 text(s)

June 22, 2000

Trade Marks, Act (Ch.257), 22/06/2000, No. 17 Trade Marks Act (Chapter 257) (Revised Edition 2000, 2 text(s)

November 30, 2000

Trade Marks, Rules, 30/11/2000, No. 8 Trade Marks Rules, 2000, 0 text(s)

January 4, 2001

Designs, Regulations, 04/01/2001, No. 16 Industrial Designs Regulations, 2001 (No. 16 of 2001), 2 text(s)

May 14, 2001

Copyright (Specified Countries), Order, 14/05/2001, No. 75 Copyright (Specified Countries) Order, 2001, 2 text(s)

August 17, 2001

Plant Variety, Regulations, 17/08/2001, No. 116 Protection of New Plant Varieties Regulations, 2001, 2 text(s)

August 17, 2001

Integrated Circuits, Regulations, 17/08/2001, No. 115 Protection of Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits Regulations, 2001, 2 text(s)

December 27 2001

Patents, Regulations, 27/12/2001, No. 2 Patents Regulations, 2002 (No. 2 of 2002) 2 text(s)

December 27, 2001

Marks, Rules, 27/12/2001, No. 3 Marks Rules, 2002, No. 3, 2 text(s)

January 31, 2003

Other (Electronic Transactions), Act (Ch. 290:01), 31/01/2003, No. 8 Electronic Transactions Act (Chapter 290:01) (Revised Edition 2003), No. 8 of 2003, 1 text(s)

All Intellectual Property matters in Belize are dealt with by the Belize Intellectual Property Office (BELIPO) ( www.belipo.bz) which also acts as the National Intellectual Property Registry.