Bahamas - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2022-10-19

In 2019, the government took steps to strengthen Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in response to pressure from the business community and as part of its protracted WTO accession process.  These regulations cover patents, trademarks, copyrights, integrated circuits, false trade descriptions, new plant varieties, and geographic indicators.  The government anticipates the new regulations will bring The Bahamas into compliance with the terms of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement.  The Embassy is not aware of new IP-related laws or regulations introduced in 2022.  The Bahamas is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) but has not ratified the WIPO Internet treaties.  The Bahamas is also a signatory to the following intellectual property conventions and agreements. 

  • Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works 

  • Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property 

  • Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) 

  • Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) 

  • Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property 

The Bahamas has not recently been listed as a country of concern in the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) Special 301 Report and is not included in USTR’s 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy.  

The Bahamas’ intellectual property registry is maintained by the Department of the Registrar General and enforcement is coordinated by the Royal Bahamas Police Force with support from Bahamas Customs.  The Copyright Royalty Tribunal, established under the Copyright Act, is responsible for royalty-related activities, such as collecting and distributing royalties.   

U.S. companies should be aware that intellectual property is primarily a private right, and the U.S. government cannot enforce rights for private individuals in The Bahamas.  It is the responsibility of the rights’ holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant, and retain counsel and advisors where necessary.  Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Bahamian law.  

In any foreign market, companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property.  For background, link to our article on Protecting Intellectual Property and for more resources.