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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

NATIONAL LEGISLATION - TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

Protection Against Unfair Competition Act, 1996 


Index

 


An Act to provide for protection against unfair competition

 

(Short title)

  1. This Act may be cited as the Protection Against Unfair Competition Act, 1996.

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(Commencement)

  1. This Act shall come into force on a date to be fixed by the President by Proclamation.

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(Interpretation)

  1. In this Act-

    “appearance of a product” includes the packaging, shape, colour or other nonfunctional characteristic features of the product in question;

    “business identifier” includes business symbols, emblems, logos and slogans used by an enterprise to convey in the course of industrial or commercial activities, a certain identity with respect to the enterprise and the products produced or the services rendered by that enterprise;

    “dilution of goodwill or reputation” means the lessening of the distinctive character or advertising value of a trademark, trade name or other business identifier, the appearance of a product or the presentation of products or services or of a celebrity or well-known fictional character;

    “industrial or commercial activities” includes the activities of professionals and other such persons;

    “practice” includes an omission to act;

    “presentation of products or services” includes advertising;

    “trade mark” includes marks relating to goods, marks relating to services and marks relating to both goods and services.

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(General principles)

  1.  
    1. In addition to the acts and practices referred to in sections 5 to 9, any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that is contrary to honest practices shall constitute an act of unfair competition.
    2. Any person who is a competitor or customer of another person or is a consumer or a user of the goods and services of another person and who is damaged or likely to be damaged by an act of unfair competition committed by that other person or a person connected with him shall be entitled to the remedies obtainable under the civil law of Trinidad and Tobago.
    3. This section and sections 5 to 9 shall apply independently of, and in addition to, any legislative provisions protecting inventions, industrial designs, trademarks, literary and artistic works and other intellectual property subject matter.

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(Causing confusion with respect to another’s enterprise or its activities)

  1.  
    1. Any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that causes, or is likely to cause, confusion with respect to another’s enterprise or its activities, in particular, the products or services offered by such enterprise, shall constitute an act of unfair competition.
    2. Confusion may, in particular, be caused with respect to any of the following:
      1. a trademark, whether registered or not;
      2. a trade name;
      3. a business identifier other than a trademark or trade name;
      4. the appearance of a product;
      5. the presentation of products or services;
      6. a celebrity or a well-known fictional character.

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(Damaging another’s goodwill or reputation)

  1.  
    1. Any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that damages, or is likely to damage, the goodwill or reputation of another’s enterprise shall constitute an act of unfair competition, regardless of whether such act or practice causes confusion.
    2. Damaging another’s goodwill or reputation may, in particular, result from the dilution of the goodwill or reputation attached to any of the following:
      1. a trademark, whether registered or not;
      2. a trade name;
      3. a business identifier other than a trademark or a trade name;
      4. the appearance of a product;
      5. the presentation of products or services;
      6. a celebrity or a well-known fictional character.

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(Misleading the public)

  1.  
    1. Any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that misleads, or is likely to mislead, the public with respect to an enterprise or its activities, in particular, the products or services offered by such enterprise, shall constitute an act of unfair competition.
    2. Misleading may arise out of advertising or promotion and may, in particular, occur with respect to any of the following:
      1. the manufacturing process of a product;
      2. the suitability of a product or service for a particular purpose;
      3. the quality or quantity or other characteristics of products or services;
      4. the geographical origin of products or services;
      5. the conditions on which products or services are offered or provided;
      6. the price of products or services or the manner in which it is calculated.

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(Discrediting another’s enterprise or its activities)

  1.  
    1. Any false or unjustifiable allegation, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that discredits, or is likely to discredit, another’s enterprise or its activities, in particular, the products or services offered by such enterprise, shall constitute an act of unfair competition.
    2. Discrediting may arise out of advertising or promotion and may, in particular, occur with respect to any of the following:
      1. the manufacturing process of a product;
      2. the suitability of a product or service for a particular purpose;
      3. the quality or quantity or other characteristics of products or services;
      4. the conditions on which products or services are offered or provided;
      5. the price of products or services or the manner in which it is calculated.

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(Unfair competition in respect of trade secrets)

  1.  
    1. Any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, that results in the disclosure, acquisition or use by others of trade secrets without the consent of the person lawfully in control of that information (hereinafter referred to as “the rightful holder”) and in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices shall constitute an act of unfair competition.
    2. Disclosure, acquisition or use of trade secrets by others without the consent of the rightful holder may, in particular, result from-
      1. industrial or commercial espionage;
      2. breach of contract;
      3. breach of confidence;
      4. inducement to commit any of the acts referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c);
      5. acquisition of a trade secret by a third party who knew, or was grossly negligent in failing to know, that an act referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d) was involved in the acquisition.
    3. For the purposes of this section, information shall be considered “a trade secret” if-
      1. it is not, as a body or in the precise configuration and assembly of its components, generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question;
      2. it has commercial value because it is a trade secret; and
      3. it has been subject to reasonable steps under the circumstances by the rightful holder to keep it secret.
    4. Any act or practice, in the course of industrial or commercial activities, shall be considered an act of unfair competition if it consists or results in-
      1. an unfair commercial use of secret test or other data, the origination of which involves considerable effort and which have been submitted to a competent authority for the purposes of obtaining approval of the marketing of pharmaceutical or agricultural chemical products which utilise new chemical entities; or
      2. the disclosure of such data, except-
        1. where necessary to protect the public; and
        2. where steps are taken to ensure that the data are protected against unfair commercial use.

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* Short title.

* Entry into force: December 1, 1997.

* Source: Legal Supplement Part A to the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette, Vol. 35, No. 166, August 20, 1996.