At the beginning of last year (19 December 2019) the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) published some very important changes on the official website of the IFSC.
The information is regarding the duty of all International Business Companies (IBC) in Belize to fill and submit the forms about intellectual property assets (in case of acquiring, holding or dealing with them) or absence of such.
The above requirement has been established in Belize in light of existing legislative prohibition to acquire, hold, own and deal with intellectual property (IP) assets provided for IBC companies. The prohibition has been established by Statutory Instrument №11 of 2019 and is effective since 1 January 2019.
The IP assets in terms of Belizean legislation are: intangible assets including copyrights, patents, trademarks, brands, know-how and other similar assets from which the income accrues to the business.
The transition period that IBC companies are permitted to hold and use IP assets acquired on or before 16 October 2017 is extended until 30 June 2021. The expiration of transition period will mean that in order to avoid violation of current IP prohibition regime, IBC companies will have to either dispose their IP assets, Redomicile them to another foreign jurisdiction or change the form from IBC to other Belizean company which is not prohibited to own IP assets.
Non-compliance with IP prohibition regime will cause offending parties to be liable to a penalty and in some cases it will result to striking-off the local company Register. The liability is imposed by the court on a summary conviction.
The Intellectual Property (IP) Assets Grandfathering Certification Programme Form must be filled by all IBC companies and submitted to the IFSC before January the 31th 2020. The submission is to be made by IBC companies through its registered agents in Belize irrespectively of presence or absence of IP assets. Late submission or non-submission of the above form will cause application of a disciplinary action as per the authority directive.
If you or your company require more information about Belize IP assets please feel free to contact us.