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:: Guernsey & IP

Since 2004 Guernsey has been increasing its knowledge base of what represents 'world class' IP legislation and modernising its laws accordingly. In addition the establishment of an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) offers a comprehensive range of enabling services within this legislative framework.

The new IP laws that Guernsey has introduced are primarily based on UK laws but have also introduced some of the flexibility available under the European regime.

In that Guernsey is not within the EU, this allows it greater flexibility to develop new laws to address the rapidly changing fields of IP. This is because the Intellectual Property (Enabling Provisions) Bailiwick of Guernsey Law, 2004, created the power for the Guernsey Government to introduce separate ordinances relating to IP.

Hence, Guernsey has a developed a somewhat unique legislative infrastructure which readily lends itself to meeting the needs of the modern digital world and growing globalization of IP derived trade in goods and services.

To raise finance on the back of IP requires security and this is met via The Security Interests (Guernsey) Law 1993 (known as the "Security Law"). This provides that a security interest may be created in any intangible moveable property other than a lease and therefore possibilities of simple debt financing secured on IP or full securitisation structured financing of IP is possible.

:: Where is Guernsey?

Guernsey is a small island, barely 25sq miles (67sq kms), which is part of the Channel Islands, located in the English channel (Further information about Guernsey on Wikipedia here).  Although closer to France, Guernsey is part of the British Isles, rather than the UK, which is significant, since the UK is a member of the European Union (EU) whilst Guernsey is not.

The population of Guernsey is circa 61,000, English speaking and relatively affluent, with a per capita annual income of approximately US$40K (9th highest amongst the 200 or so countries of the world). Unemployment is low and skilled labour hard to find. Certainly not the right business environment for the manufacture of high labour content goods.

There are no political parties in Guernsey and the island has a "consensus" style of politics with independent candidates standing for election as Deputies of the island's 10 parishes.

Not being part of either the UK or the EU has given Guernsey a degree of independence which has enabled it to build a strong finance industry, and a business environment conducive to the creation and commercialisation of IP.

Although Guernsey is not part of the EU it holds a special status which is formally recognised allowing free movement of goods to and from the island, and within the UK and the rest of the EU.

Guernsey is recognised as a significant offshore centre and was included on the OECD's 2009 'White List'.

:: Build an IP Business in Guernsey

Guernsey is no place to build a business dedicated to the high volume manufacture of low value goods with high labour content. However, it is an eminently suitable location for businesses looking to create, hold and license high value IP.

One of the major attractions of Guernsey is that it is both familiar and different. Modern financial and commercial legislation are set out in English, the dominant language, but there is a strong Norman French influence on longer standing laws. Guernsey also has its own company and personal taxation laws. You will need local professional advice in order to get the maximum benefit from operating in Guernsey.

There are no restraints to setting up a trading company in Guernsey. However, as in all locations there is a benefit from 'knowing the ropes' in order to progress issues smoothly and quickly. Opta is well placed to advise and assist you, having both good local connections combined with the programme and project management skills to co-ordinate and drive through the set up processes.

Opta can facilities manage your company's operations for you, but once you have visited the island and experienced its lifestyle you might decide to become a resident.

Guernsey's housing market is simple: all housing is classified as 'local' or 'open' market. As a newcomer you will be able to live in any 'open' market accommodation of your choice, without restriction. Many successful businessmen are able to live in Guernsey and commute to the UK or continental Europe as necessary.