Admittedly the terms “tradename” and “trademark” are usually confused because of their similarities (to some extend), which however -in fact- distinct the said terms between them.

In so far as tradenames are concerned, these can be registered at a national level (with the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property (“DRCIP”) of the Republic of Cyprus) and such a tradename registration afford the owner of the respective trademark (whether physical or legal person) the right and the ability to carry on its business activity using the said tradename. It is important to note that national tradenames may only be comprised of words (ie word marks) and are not considered as entities having separate legal personality. Last but not least, it is essential to note that the registration of a national tradename does not afford any intellectual property protection over the said tradename.

On the other side, a trademark may comprises, among others, of words, figures, shapes, positions, patterns, colours, sounds, motion, multimedia, holograms or combination of such elements, while, depending on the geographical extent of the protection to be afforded and the particular needs of the owner thereof, a trademark may be registered at a national level (eg in the Republic of Cyprus), at a community (EU) level or at an international level.

A national trademark is only protected at a national level (ie only within the Republic of Cyprus) while not maintained and protected internationally; thus, a Cyprus trademark will only give its owner national protection. In the course and for the purposes of the registration of a national trademark, and in any event before applying for the registration thereof in Cyprus, searches must be contacted in order to find out the eligibility of the trademark to be registered and, in particular, whether (i) the trademark is capable of registration and (ii) there is a similar or identical trademark, already registered. In terms of the procedure for the registration of a national trademark, following completion of the search for its eligibility for registration, an application is submitted to the DRCIP to this end. Upon examination of the application, which may take approximately a couple of months, the DRCIP shall proceed with the publication of the notice for the registration of the trademark in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus. The Registrar (heading the DRCIP) will not grant its permission for the registration of the trademark, unless a period of two (2) months from the publication date has been lapsed. In the absence of any objections against the registration of the trademark, the Registrar registers the trademark and issues the respective certificate. The registration of the trademark remains valid for a period of seven (7) years from the date of registration and must be renewed (at a cost) at its expiration.

Where broader protection (within European Union is required), a trademark may be registered at a community level. More specifically, a community trademark offers its owner enhanced protection since a community trademark is well protected in all countries of the European Union on the basis of a single registration with the competent authority. At first stage, before proceeding with the submission of an application for the registration of a community trademark, searches must be contacted in order to find out whether (i) the trademark is capable of registration and (ii) there is a similar or identical trademark, already registered. Then, an application for the registration of a community trademark is filed. Upon examination of the aforesaid application and provided that no errors or defaults will be detected, the desired tradename will be published in the Community Trademarks Bulletin (translated in all the official languages of the European Union) giving everyone the right to object to the application. The period granted for oppositions is three (3) months from the publication date. In the absence of any objections against the registration of the trademark, the approval for the registration of the community trademark is granted. Kindly note that the registration of the trademark is valid for a period of ten (10) years from the date of its registration whereas once it is registered, the trademark is established as a trading name and protection is given for non-EU jurisdictions as well, provided that the trademark will be a well-known and recognized mark (subject to the laws and regulations of such other non-EU jurisdictions). In this respect, it is worth noting that even if the registration of a community trademark is approved, if the trademark is not used within the European Union within five (5) years from its registration, its cancellation may be requested. In addition, it should be noted that such a trademark will also be vulnerable to attack in the event that the trademark is not used for all the goods and/or services, as the case may be, which have been specifically declared on the application form.

Moreover, where enhanced protection is sought outside the European Union, a trademark may be registered at an international level, in which case, protection is granted in the countries where the trademark is specifically registered. In this respect, it is worth noting that there two options in securing the registration of an international trademark. The first one is, after the conduct of all appropriate searches for verifying that (i) the trademark is capable of registration and (ii) there is a similar or identical trademark, already registered, to file an application directly to the competent international organization. The second option is to follow the procedure for the registration of a national trademark and then, upon registration of the trademark at a national level, proceed through the DRCIP with the filing of an application for the registration of the same trademark with each of the third countries where protection is needed (district registration in each country). In any event, the terms and the duration of validity of the protection to be afforded over the trademark depend on the laws and regulations applicable in each third country where the trademark is to be registered.

In light of the above, when someone is considering on whether to proceed with the registration of a tradename or a trademark, the first point to decide on is the nature of the mark and whether intellectual property protection is also sought. In the event that the said test results in the registration of a tradename, then the situation is relatively simple. If, however, it turns that the registration of a trademark would better suit the needs, then the scope and geographical extent of protection for such a trademark must be analysed.

First and foremost, it should be stressed that in order for a third country national to be employed in the Republic of Cyprus (areas controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus), it is a prerequisite to obtain a Temporary Residence and Work Permit or equivalent approval following filing of an application to this end to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (Migration Section) of the Ministry of Interior (the “Civil Registry and Migration Department (Migration Section)”). In this regards, it is of particular importance to stress that by securing a temporary or even permanent residence permit, a third country national is not entitled to be employed in the Republic of Cyprus unless so is expressly provided in the terms of the specific permit and/or of the scheme under which the permit is obtained. The procedure to be followed, the supporting information / documentation required and the timeframe for the completion of the process vary in accordance to the specific type of permit.

Generally speaking, Cyprus legislation makes provision for sector-specific categories in which third-country nationals may be temporarily employed for the purpose of performing work, depending on their status in the Republic of Cyprus and/or the type of permit for which they have or are going to apply; such categories include, among others, general employees (admitted in sectors where there is need for support in the absence of local or European personnel), domestic workers, food handlers, athletes, coaches, livestock labourers, agriculture workers, priests, nurses, bartenders, creative artists, performing artists, creative supportive staff and the supporting staff of a performing artist. Of course, there is also the option for an employer to employ high-skilled third country nationals, in which case the procedure is more concise. In any case, the rules, terms, conditions as well as the volume of admission of third-country nationals to any such specific categories are determined by the Council of Ministers considering and/or relying on the proposal of the Minister of Labour.

A crucial criterion for applying for most of the types of work permits available, is for the employer to obtain and/or secure an approval from the Labour Department (Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance) (the “Labour Department”), which is the competent authority for securing that there are no Cypriots or citizens of Member States of the European Union, available or adequately qualified for the specific job or post prior to recommending the employment of third country nationals. To be more precise, the employer who is interested in employing third country national(s) must, upon receipt of the approval from the Labour Department, submit an application accompanied by -among others- the contract of employment and the remaining documents certified by the Labour Department, for the purpose of acquiring an entry visa that will enable the third country national to enter the Republic of Cyprus (in case he/she is not already in the Republic of Cyprus) and then, upon the arrival of the third country national in the Republic of Cyprus (if applicable), proceed with the submission of the main application for the registration and acquisition of the respective residence and work permit, depending on the type and nature of employment.

Apart from the above, there is also the option to transfer a third country national from a foreign company to a company situated and operating in the Republic of Cyprus. more specifically, the Civil Registry Law (Cap.105) has been amended for the purpose of accommodating the provisions of Directive 2014/66/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (the “EU Directive 2014/66/EU”) relating to the intra-corporate transferee permit (ICP) that can be granted in order for third-country nationals employed by an employer entity or undertaking established in a third country to be able to be employed by an employer entity or undertaking of the same group of companies established in the Republic of Cyprus. In this regards, it is important to stress that in order for the involved undertakings to be qualified as part of a group of companies, the said entities or undertakings must be considered as linked in any of the following ways:

(a)    one of the undertakings holds, directly or indirectly, the majority of the subscribed capital of the other;

(b)   one of the undertakings controls the majority of the votes attached to the issued share capital of the other;

(c)    one of the undertakings is entitled to appoint more than half of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the other; and

(d)   the undertakings are in fact managed on a unified basis by a common parent undertaking/owner.

In light of the above, it must be underlined that in order for an employer to be eligible to obtain a work permit for an intra-company transferred employee, it is a prerequisite that the said employer forms part of a group of companies within which the transfer shall take place, while such an employer must prove its good standing and clean criminal record, as well as its compliance with all its legal obligations, including the settlement of taxes and the payment of contributions for employees. In the same way, it is extremely important for the involved entities or undertakings, namely the foreign entity and the Cyprus one, to be able to prove the employment existing or future relationship, as the case may be, between each of them and the intra-company transferred employee by providing official documentation to this end, issued by the competent governmental authority or body of the respective jurisdiction.

All in all, there are different procedures on the basis of which a third country national may be employed in the Republic of Cyprus while each type of residence and work permit is subject to a series of benefits, limitations and restrictions. Lastly, we cannot disregards the fact that, apart from the classic / standard procedures for the general employment of third country nationals, the government of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to adapt to the evolved needs of our times, has also developed various schemes, strategies and programs that were in force from time to time while it has recently introduced and does currently apply a Strategy for attracting, among others, businesses of foreign interests for activities or/and expansion of their activities in the Republic of Cyprus, which may also serve the needs for the employment of third country nationals in various key positions provided that the employer and each of the prospective employees satisfy the relevant criteria set forth in the said Strategy.

The provision of security services constitutes a regulated activity that can only be carried on by persons licensed to this end by the Cyprus Police, which is the supervisory authority. That said, in order for a license to be issued, the interested person must submit an application to this end the competent department of the Cyprus Police, which (application) must be accompanied by all material information and documentation.

In the course and for the purpose of the application for the issue of a license, the applicant must specifically indicate the security services that he is interested in providing. In this respect, it is worth-noting that a security services provider may offer all (private agency providing general security services) or some (private agency providing special security services) of the following services:

(a)    Surveillance, safeguard, custody of movable or immovable property or installations;

(b)   Protection of natural persons (individuals)

(c)    protection for smooth operation of spectacles, exhibitions, conferences, competitions or sport or other events;

(d)   safe transport and custody of money, securities and precious items;

(e)   instalment, maintenance and monitoring of the operation of alarm systems, fire detection systems, fire safety systems, fire fighting systems, closed circuit TV and access control, anti-theft and protection of merchandise systems;

(f)     installation and management of centre of receipt, check and transmission of alarm signals;

(g)    check of passengers and luggage within airports and ports using special machinery;

(h)   preparation of studies and design of electronic and physical security system;

(i)      control or regulation of the movement of the public with the use of vehicles or other means within private property or an area the entry to which is restricted to the public in order for such property or area to be protected;

(j)     private investigation services;

(k)    facilities for the secure storage of movable property;

(l)      the provision of armoured vehicles for the transfer of money or other items;

(m) operation and custody of places for the confinement of illegal immigrants or places for the reception of asylum seekers or refugees;

(n)   any other services so determined by an order of the Minister of Justice and Public Order.

In addition to the above, it is worth to stress that, pursuant to a recent Order of the Minister of Minister of Justice & Public Order issued on 11/06/2021, the check of passengers, luggage and objects in areas of governmental buildings and buildings of governmental organizations, departments and services, with the use of special machinery, may also be provided by provided by provided security service providers (provided that these are duly licensed).

Of course, an application must be well supported and sufficiently documented while all the criteria, set forth in the Law, must be met. One of the core criteria is the existence and staffing of the provider’s premises / offices. In particular, the provider must have premises / officers which must be adequately staffed; especially in cases where the private agency is interested in providing security services with guards, a head-office must operate 24/7, which must be able to contact and cooperate with the Cyprus Police in case of emergency. In this respect, it is worth to note that the staff to be employed by the provider must be qualified (age and origin criterion, physical and mental fitness, no connection with serious criminal offense or disciplinary offenses involving dishonesty or moral depravity, narcotic drugs or other psychotropic substances, weapons, ammunition or explosives etc.) and trained (attendance of training course organized under the auspices of the Cyprus Police at a college/facility designated by the Police Commissioner) in accordance with the provisions of the Law.

Provided that everything is line and before the approval of the application, the competent authority examines the trademark (logo) to be used for trading purposes as well as the uniform which the provider’s staff (and guards) shall use since these must be approved by the Chief of the Cyprus Police. In this regards, it is recommended for the uniform to consist of trousers (in black, brown, beige or blue), shirt (short sleeve and long sleeve), t-shirt (short sleeve and long sleeve) that may even be a hoodie/ pullover, sweater, jacket and tie. On the front left or right side of the shirt, t-shirt, hoodie/ pullover, sweater, jacket, the words “ΙΔΙΩΤΙΚΕΣ ΥΠΗΡΕΣΙΕΣ ΑΣΦΑΛΕΙΑΣ” and “PRIVATE SECURITY SERVICES” MUST be printed along with the trademark (logo) of the provider.

Moreover, as a general rule, the possession of guns and/or weapons is restricted; however, the proper and licensed possession, use, acquisition or transfer of firearms falling within Category D of Law 113(I)/2004, is exempted from the restriction.

Lastly, it is quite important to note that an entity, which is willing to proceed with the provision of security services, must make sure that the specific purpose is explicitly provided for in its Memorandum of Association; otherwise, a Court Application may have to be submitted in order for the Memorandum of Association to be adjusted accordingly.

On April 24, 2013, the Council of Ministers approved the policy for the issue and renewal of Temporary Residence and Employment Permits for third country nationals employed by International Business Companies / Companies of Foreign Interests operating in the Republic of Cyprus (the “Policy”). The said Policy was introduced as an incentive to attract investors for transferring and/or establishing their businesses in the Republic of Cyprus and, to this end, it afforded -those eligible to take advantage of its provisions- with a series of benefits, including the employment of a relatively large number of high-skilled third-country nationals in particular professions and/or businesses through an expedited admission procedure, which may not require the receipt of any consent(s) and/or approval(s) of any other services and/or authorities.

In view of the demanding framework with regards to investment programs of any kind and in the course of applying stricter criteria for the admission of third country nationals in the Republic of Cyprus on that basis, the Policy has been amended on October 7, 2020 following a proposal to this end submitted to and approved by the Council of Ministers (the “Revised Policy”). Retrieving from the Revised Policy, a Third Country National may apply for a Temporary Residence and Employment Permit in the event that he will be employed by an International Business Company / Company of Foreign Interests having physical presence and operating in the Republic of Cyprus provided that the employer meets certain qualification criteria:-

  1. The majority (51%)* of the employer – company’s shareholders are foreign shareholders. The following cases are excluded:

–          Public companies registered in any recognized stock exchange

–          Former offshore companies that were operating in Cyprus by approval of the Cyprus Central Bank, before the change of their offshore status.

–          Cypriot shipping companies.

–          Cypriot companies of high technology / innovation, that will be certified by the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy based on the applicable framework.

–          Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or companies operating in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology.

–          Persons who have acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalization based on economic criteria, given that they will prove that the conditions under which they were naturalized are still met.

  1. The percentage of foreign shareholding stake in the employer – company must represent an amount equal to or greater than the amount of the required direct foreign capital investment.
  1. The direct foreign capital investment must amount to at least €200.000,00 (for the prescribed purposes) and must be legally brought in Cyprus form abroad (through the prescribed means).
  2. The employer – company should operate from its self-contained offices in Cyprus; to be more precise, the employer – company must have physical presence in Cyprus.

Nonetheless, an approved International Business Company (of foreign interests) has the right to employ a certain number of foreign nationals in official or key positions, such as directors, managers, middle management executives and other key personnel; such employees may be employed in any of the following key-positions:

(a)   Directors (Directors or Partners registered in the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver; General Managers of branches and of mother companies of alien companies; Departmental Managers; Project Managers) with minimum gross monthly salary at €4.000,00 (subject to periodical adjustments depending on fluctuations in the wage index).

(b) Middle management executives and other key personnel (upper / middle management personnel and other administrative, secretarial or technical staff) with minimum gross monthly salary in between €2.000,00 (subject to periodical adjustments depending on fluctuations in the wage index).

(c) Specialists in specific fields (Software and System Engineers, Application and Data Architects, Information and Communication Technology and Enterprise Solution Architects, Technical Assurance Professionals, Telecom and Space Engineers, Data scientists, Machine Learning Engineers, Web Developers and designers, UX User Experience Professionals, Quantitative Analysts, Quality Assurance Analysts, Mobile Application Developers, Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality Programmers, Digital Marketing Specialists, Video Production Multimedia Specialists for Mobile Apps and Software, Analysts for Mobile Apps and Software, Designers of Prototype for Mobile Devices, DevOps Engineers, Cyber Security Specialists, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Big Data Specialists, Pharmaceutical Formulation Technologists, Pharmaceutical Engineer Validation Specialists, Pharmaceutical Patents Specialists, Pharmaceutical Regulatory and Quality Assurance Professionals, Marine Engineers, Naval Architects) with minimum gross monthly salary in between €2.000,00 (subject to periodical adjustments depending on fluctuations in the wage index).

(d)   Support staff; if it is proved that there are no qualified Cypriots or European citizens available, the employer – company may employ, through the standard procedure established for General Employment, third country nationals in posts in this category.

Overall, the Revised Policy introduced some ‘minor’ amendments for enhancing its application by persisting and emphasising on the employers’ business and physical presence. The amendment of the previous Policy was imperative in view of the need to ensure its proper implementation by filling in any gaps that could operate in a way that would facilitate the misuse of the procedure.

We are glad to announce that A. KARITZIS & ASSOCIATES LLC contributes to the 5th edition of the exclusive Cyprus Chapter to The Gambling Law Review, published in the United Kingdom by Law Business Research Ltd.

The Gambling Law Review covers the main perspectives of gambling in various jurisdictions; in particular, the Cyprus Chapter seeks to address the main areas underpinning the legislative framework governing gambling activities (betting, gaming and lotteries) in the Republic of Cyprus and offer readers insight, information and guidance in relation to a rapidly evolving and growing industry.

The information provided in this publication is general and may not apply in a specific situation, nor does it necessarily represent the views of authors’ firms or their clients. Thus, such information should not be used as a substitute for professional consultation; legal advice should always be sought before taking any legal action based on the information provided. The publishers accept no responsibility for any acts or omissions contained herein. Although the information provided is accurate as at May 2019, be advised that this is a developing area.

For further details or clarifications of the subject guide or/and any assistance, you may require please do not hesitate to contact our Corporate/Commercial Department at: mail@karitzis.com.