All you need to know about trademark registration in Maldives

The Maldives has experienced substantial growth in the last decade, largely driven by economic activities and the businesses in Maldives venturing into the global area. But over these years, the importance of protecting Intellectual Property Rights in the Maldives as an accelerator of business and investment has been overlooked and unexplored. To educate entrepreneurs, public and encourage businesses to invest in the Maldives the Ministry of Economic Development established an Intellectual Property Unit in the year 2007. The Ministry has also been working on drafting and adopting the relevant legislation related to intellectual property in Maldives.

While the Ministry was successful in passing the Copyright and Related Rights Law in 2010 which later became effective in 2011, there has not been any laws passed in respect of protecting other forms of intellectual property such as trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications or patents in Maldives.

To improve the condition of intellectual property protection in Maldives, the country is a part of a few of the most eminent organizations and Intellectual Property-oriented conventions in the world. It is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) since May 1995. Additionally, it is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties and WIPO Convention since May 2004.

Accordingly, protection to other forms of intellectual property such as trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, or patents in Maldives is by way of establishing rights under the Common Law by publishing a cautionary notice in local newspapers in both Dhivehi and English language.

Trademark Registration in Maldives by local resident companies

Local resident company or residents can obtain trademark registration in Maldives by filing an application with the Ministry of Economic Development. Prior to making the trademark application, the local resident companies or residents should obtain business name registrations with the Ministry of Economic Development.

Trademark Registration in Maldives by foreign companies

Unlike most countries, the process to protect trademarks in Maldives does not include the same rigmarole of filing, examination and advertisement but is merely based on the publication of a Trademark Cautionary Notice.

Cautionary notice languages in Maldives

The Notice must be published in a local newspaper in English and in the vernacular, which is Dhivehi.

Trademark, Classes & Classification of goods and services in Maldives

Since it is just a trademark cautionary notice and does not have restrictions on the number of classes, or content, the trademark owner is permitted to publish more than one trademark belonging to the same owner in one trademark cautionary notice. The specification of goods and services can be under the International NICE classification or general classification.

Contents of the trademark cautionary notice

A trademark cautionary notice published in Maldives in general, consists of following information.

  1. Name, address, status, and nationality of the trademark owner
  2. Trademark or Trademarks
  3. Class or Classes
  4. Specification of goods and services
  5. Contact details

Renewal of trademark in Maldives

Once the notice has been published, the proprietor can re-publish the notice at a frequency they chose, given that there is no fixed registration or renewal period. In general, companies re-publish their cautionary notices every year if they would like to establish the use of the trademark in Maldives or between 3 to 5 years.

Trademark Infringement action in Maldives

If a prior user or rights holder comes across the cautionary notice, the onus lies on them to contest the claim of trademark rights of the published proprietor.

While publication of the trademark cautionary notice establishes rights in the trademarks, the Maldives recognizes the common-law remedy of passing off which can be an effective tool in stopping infringers of trademarks in the Maldives.

Costs for publication of cautionary notice in Maldives

Since the protection of trademarks in Maldives is by the publication of cautionary notice in the local newspapers, the charges towards the same shall vary depending on the space taken for the cautionary notice.


The publication of the caution notice involves the translation of the notice in the local language of Dhivehi and accordingly, the translation and publication of cautionary notice in Maldives take approximately 15-20 business days.

Also, do check out our section on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about trademark registration in Maldives.

While steps are being taken to formalize the registration and prosecution to align with global systems, the cautionary notice for the moment forms the most vital step in the process of protection of trademarks in the Maldives.

Feature photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash