Intellectual Property and the Isle of Man – Protecting your ideas

In the modern world, intellectual property (IP) can be one of the most valuable assets of any organisation. Choosing the right jurisdiction to hold and develop your IP is, therefore, a key-strategic decision for any company to make. It is essential that the chosen location is one that can serve the organisation’s business model, provide protection and safeguard its IP and also optimise IP management in a tax efficient manner.

The Isle of Man is a jurisdiction which satisfies each of these key criteria. Combining low tax rates and signatory to important IP international treaties makes the Island an ideal base for companies wishing to protect their IP.

Whilst many offshore financial centres offer tax advantages for entities holding IP, the Isle of Man may be well ahead of its rivals in terms of asset protection. Few offshore jurisdictions can claim the extensive protection afforded in the Island through its robust legislation.



The Isle of Man has fully developed laws protecting IP rights that are based on UK law. It is also a signatory to the Berne, Paris and Rome Conventions, the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol.

In relation to patents and trademarks, the Isle of Man has fully developed laws protecting IP rights that are based on UK law; the principal terms of the UK Patents Act 1977 and the UK Trade Marks Act 1994 extend to the Isle of Man. Although the Isle of Man does not have its own patent or trade mark register, it falls under the UK Register. Therefore, any IP registered in the Isle of Man is recorded in the UK and is subject to protection throughout Europe and beyond. Owners can be assured of the internationally recognised protection of their IP whilst benefitting from the advantages of holding the property within an Isle of Man domiciled structure.

With regards to copyright, design right, database right and performers’ rights the Isle of Man has its own legislation which is kept in line with UK and EU standards.



With few exceptions, Isle of Man companies are subject to tax on their profits at a rate of 0% and there is no withholding tax on dividends. Consequently, profits derived from IP can be earned by the company and distributed to shareholders free from Isle of Man tax. Furthermore, the Isle of Man does not tax capital gains which means the IP can be sold without any Isle of Man tax being payable.

Suitable and professional tax advice on any such planning should, however, be obtained before entering into transactions of this kind. Particularly, as there may be tax issues/ leakage in the country where the IP is being exploited and in the jurisdiction of residence of the shareholder.


How Abacus can assist

Abacus provides bespoke structures and a full package of administration services for trusts, companies, partnerships and foundations wishing to register IP in the Isle of Man.  Furthermore, we have a dedicated team of tax professionals who stay abreast of tax developments and who are able to react effectively and efficiently to the implications of changes for the structures that we manage.

For more information on how Abacus can assist you with Intellectual Property, visit our website or call on +44 1624 689 600.


Written by Marta Bellamoli, Marketing Co-ordinator