Business Outlook and Intellectual Property in Greece

Business Outlook and Intellectual Property in Greece

Many may not consider Greece as a place to start a business at the moment, with a financial crisis that made the headline in 2008, but the prudency would suggest the opposite. Greece is getting back on its feet after the major final debt crisis which made ripples all over the world. Bailed out by the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) situation has improved greatly in the past few years. Against the backdrop such events, the revamped economy of Greece is expected to grow as a manufacturing hub, buttressed by the rapid growth in the tourism sector. A well-trained labour market along with inflow of investments the scenario in Greece is certain to improve over the coming years. Greece's GDP bouncing back after the recession has rekindled itself with sustainable growth pattern which is expected to grow by 1.9% this year.

Growth in Industry

Greece’s economy has been bolstered by foreign investments, exports, effective government policies and is expanding at a rapid pace in over 10 years. While the economy has come over a long way since the financial crisis, growth is seen on the horizon. The economy of Greece is based upon Service Sector contributing major part (80%), Industrial sector (16%) and agricultural sector contributing a marginal 4%. Tourism and shipping are important industries in Greece.

Ranking 72nd in the ease of doing business Greece is credited with following best regulatory policies, procedures, and standards. Located in the Euro zone providing access to the European Market and augmented by strategic location, trained labour market and Euro as its official currency makes it a favourable destination for starting a business, trade, and industry. By setting up business in Greece at this point of time investors and businessmen can operate ahead of time by planning quickly and operating cheaply thereby in a position to enjoy a greater stand in the future market.

Entrepreneurs and Investors considering starting a business or industry in Greece must overlook the various factors that Greece has. While the economic situation is improving it is far from ideal, in spite of this trading partners are showing strong interest in continuing business with Greece as its strategic location supports international trade with key European, Asian, and African countries. Industries like tourism, shipping, maritime, food processing, energy, defense, medicine, and hydrocarbon exploration are secured from the economic collapse from supervision and guardianship of international investors and traders.

Intellectual Property in Greece

As a member of the European Union (EU), Greece is well endowed within the framework of the European Union and is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).Greece’s Intellectual Property standards are on par with all other European countries with the European Patent Convention, the Washington Patent Cooperation Treaty, and the Bern Copyright Convention. The Intellectual Property (IP) Rights cover the rights over the inventions, artistic works, designs, brand, images, and symbols used or created by business.

IP is divided into 2 broad categories

1. Industrial Property

This includes the trademarks of products, Research and development, Inventions, Industrial designs, Logos and Geographical Indication Tags.

·Design Right

A design right protects the outer visible appearance gained over the totality or a part of a product, consisting of its special characteristics, such as the shape, line, color, form and/ or the product’s material(s) or its ornamentation. Accordingly, design protection may be granted e.g. for fashion articles, kitchen utensils, jewellery, automobile parts provided that they do not fulfil exclusively a functional role.

2. Copyright

This covers artistic works, literature, graphical representation, Images, and motion pictures. The Hellenic Copyright Organization OPI) is the only legally qualified institution responsible for issues dealing with copyright protection in Greece. It is a legal entity under private law, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism

3. Trademark

Trademarks may consist of, among other things, words, names of natural persons or legal entities, pseudonyms, devices/logos, designs, letters, numerals, colors, combinations of numbers or letters (acronyms), musical phrases, the shape of a product or of its packaging. In accordance with Greek legislation, trademarks can potentially last indefinitely, provided that they are periodically renewed every 10 years following their filing. If renewal is not requested within the specified period, a trademark can still be renewed up to six months later on payment of a fine.

The Greek government has notified, signed and incorporated the WIPO treaties into the Greek legislation laws in 2003. The enforcement of patent, intellectual property and copyright laws are adequate and protects patents, trade secrets for a period of 20 years.

Protection of Intellectual Property Rights according to the Greek law is extended to Protection of Property to both foreign and Greek nationals, and the legal system is entitled to protect and facilitate acquisition and deposition of property rights within Greece. Furthermore, the government is keen on creating a comprehensive land registry, which is designed to increase the transparency of real estate management. Foreign nationals can easily acquire real estate property with an official tax authentication number. In an effort to promote business and investment, law 4146/2013 permits foreign nationals to purchase property in Greece. In addition, to this the “Golden Visa” program by Greece has given the holders of Greek bonds with a value of at least 285,000 USD the privilege of extending a permit for additional five years and free movement without a visa in all EU and Schengen countries.

In conclusion, it might be worthwhile to state that the Greek economy can only go upward from here, making the country a favorable choice to invest in. Should you be looking to register a company in Greece, do contact us – we’d be glad to help.

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