What licences will I need to consider when founding a tech start-up?

The licenses required by your business will vary, although every business will need to register their business name and acquire a business licence before they commence trading. Furthermore, if you intend to establish a company you will first need to incorporate the company before applying for a business licence from the Population Office. Once the business licence application is successful, your data will be processed and provided to other governmental departments, such as the Income Tax and Social Security departments.

Before you start trading you will need to register with the Social Security Department to advise them that you will be self-employed. It will also be necessary to register with the Income Tax Department and all staff will need to be registered on the Income Tax Instalment System. If your business holds personal information, it might also be necessary to register with the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office. Their website offers a self-assessment section to help individuals determine whether or not they need to register with the Data Protection Department and registration can be done online. Furthermore, if you anticipate that your business will produce taxable services of over £300,000 a year, you ought to register for GST.

What other licensing considerations might I face?

Depending on the nature of your business, there might be specific licences which you will have to acquire before you can commence trading. For instance, licences that might be relevant in the tech industry could include a gambling licence and more information in relation to gambling licences is available on the Jersey Gambling Commission website.

If you are looking to employ registered or licensed staff, it will first be necessary to have appropriate permission from the Population Office.

What is considered intellectual property under Jersey law?

There are several forms of intellectual property rights under Jersey law; trademarks, patents and registered designs. Trade marks include distinctive trade names, pictures, symbols, signatures, devices or words that can be specifically connected with the business. The Trade Marks (Jersey) Law 2000 also provides reciprocal trade mark protection within the EU.

The Patents (Jersey) Law 1957 protects new inventions and allows individuals who have successfully registered their invention (including the mechanics and construction of the invention) to exclude others from making, selling, using, or importing said invention.

Registered designs protect the visual appearance of a product that provide it with its unique appearance. This extends to designs showing a pattern or stylised logo and registration takes place under the Registered Designs (Jersey) Law 1957.

Will I need to register the intellectual property that I produce?

Tech law is a rapidly growing area of law in Jersey and it is essential for start-ups to register their intellectual property, both locally and internationally, in order to protect your innovation.

To register intellectual property in Jersey, it is first necessary to register the intellectual property in the United Kingdom. Once this has been successful, it will then be possible to register the intellectual property with one of the three intellectual property registers in Jersey. This will involve the submission of an application form, accompanied by a certified copy of the UK registration and the relevant fee, to the appropriate registry, whether that be trademark, patents or registered designs.

Application forms for trademarks, patents and registered designs are available to download from the Jersey Government website. Please note that it is also important to inform the relevant registry whenever the ownership of the intellectual property changes.