The Sections which nowadays constitute the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver were established in the beginning of the 20th century and used to be part of various government services such as the Customs and the Supreme Court.
In 1946 they were united into the Department of the Official Receiver and Registrar of Trade Unions, Companies, Trade Marks and Patents. As from 1960 the Department comes under the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
Although the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver offers for nearly a century its services to the world of commerce and industry, its role had never been so important and necessary for the entrepreneurs as it is today.
The Department of the Registrar of Companies is responsible, among other things, for keeping the Register of Companies, Partnerships, Business Names, Trade Marks, Patents and Industrial Designs and is also responsible for administering properties of insolvent legal and natural persons.
The aim of the Department is to keep Cyprus economy timely and correctly informed about the status of commercial organizations. This aim is accomplished by providing correct and timely information for the structure of registered businesses and their financial status.
The functions of the Department is of the utmost importance, especially in the field of services. It serves a large number of advocates and accountants offices which today employ thousands of persons.
The Department offers services to the commercial and financial sector of the economy. There are today over 155.000 registered organisations (companies, partnerships, business names and oversea companies).
The Department also plays a principal role in the protection of Intellectual Property in Cyprus and with the amendment of the relevant legislation, it encourages the creation of original works in all fields of Intellectual Property.
The revenues of the Department are allocated per year as follows:
The Department offers fast and high quality services to the public while the staff is always willing to serve and give explanations and information to everybody.
The goals and activities of the Department are split into three sections:
a) Companies Section, b) Bankruptcies and Liquidations Section, c) Intellectual and Industrial Property Section.
a) The Companies Section deals with the registration, follow up, control and striking off of companies, oversea companies, partnerships and business names.
The Section advises, advances, supports and facilitates the commercial transactions in all fields of the economy.
b) The Bankruptcies and Liquidations Section deals with the receipt and administration of property assets of insolvent natural and legal persons. The lawyers of the Section handle the appropriate court cases which are part of the bankruptcy and liquidation procedure.
c) The Intellectual and Industrial Property Section deals with trade marks, patents, industrial designs and copyrights. The services offered by the section are the registration of the above except copyright.
The various industries of Cyprus and abroad place the trade marks to their products, with the purpose the consumers to be able to distinguish those among similar products, where the service marks are used by enterprises which offer services.
The registration of Trade Marks and Service Marks is carried out in accordance with Law Cap. 268 (as amended by Laws 63/1962, 69/1971, 206/1990 and 176 (I)/2000) in conjunction with the Paris International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Laws 63/65 and 66/83).
The Trade Marks Law Cap. 268 and the Paris International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Laws 63/65 and 66/83 Paris Union), protect the trade marks of both Cypriot and foreign owners. There exists no differentiation in the protection afforded to local and foreign trade marks.
Since 1/4/1998 the new Patents Law N.16(I)/98 (as amended by Laws 12(I)/99 and 153(Ι)/00) is in force.
In accordance with the new legislation, any person or organisation may file with the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, applications for new inventions so that a national patent is granted. The Department also registers and protects Patents which are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO).
In addition to the above, the Registrar of Companies acts, as receiving office of European (EPO) and International (PCT) applications for Patents.
In Cyprus, Copyright is automatic and requires no registration. The Copyright Law 59/76 protects Cypriot nationals for their works which are published anywhere in the world and the nationals of foreign countries for their works which are published in Cyprus. Only the owners of a Copyright have the exclusive right to reproduce, translate and offer their works to the public. Anyone who infringes their rights, is liable to the payment of damages and also to other penalties under the Law.
Under the Copyright Law 59/76 as amended by Laws, N.63/77, N.18(I)/93, N.54(I)/99 N.12(I)/2001, N.128(I)/2002 and N.128(I)/2004 Copyright is recognized on the following works:
(a) Scientific works
(b) Literary works
(c) Musical works
(d) Artistic works
(e) Cinematographic films
(g) Sound recordings
At the Copyright section, the office and the Register of applications of the “Competent Copyright Authority” is also located. The Authority is appointed by the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism on the basis of section 15 of the above Law. The duties of the Competent Authority is to handle issues which arise between collective societies, in relation to works protected by copyright and users of works covered by copyright.
Cyprus is a member state of the European Patent Office (EPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). It is also in co-operation with OHIM. In the framework of the co-operation programme of the Department with the European Patent Office the computerization of the Patents section is planned while there are ongoing activities in the field of patent awareness. Cyprus, as a member of WIPO, takes part in conferences and participates in educational seminars on Intellectual Property issues. It also participates in various committees of the EPO like the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Technical Information Committee. The head of the Department is a member of the Administrative Council of the EPO.
In the framework of the harmonization with the community acquis the following laws were enacted:
- The Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) Law of 2002.
- The Patents (Amendment) Law of 2002 – Legal protection of biotechnology inventions.
- The Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications, of Agricultural Products or Foodstuffs Law of 2002.
- The Legal Protection of Industrial Designs and Models Law of 2002.
- The Legal protection of topographies of semiconductor products Law of 2002.
- The Patents (Amendment) Law of 2002 - supplementary protection certificates of plant protection products.
- The Trade Marks (Amendment) Law of 2000.
- The Companies (Amendment) Law of 2000, in relation to the co-ordination of the company law of member states.
- The Companies (Amendment) Law of 2000, in relation to single-member companies.
- The Companies (Amendment) Law of 2001, in relation to the qualifications of auditors of companies.
- The Legal Protection of the New Varieties of Plants Law of 2004.
- The Copyright and Related Rights (Amendment) Law of 2004
- The Companies (Amendment) Law of 2003 on public companies.
- The Companies (Amendment) (No. 2) Law of 2003 on accounts and consolidated accounts of group of companies.