Wednesday 2 June 2010

An IP Tax Haven Amidst Cool Beaches

A couple of weeks ago IP Finance team blogger Jeremy posted this request from a reader seeking information on which countries are good tax havens for intellectual property portfolios. Reader comments and responses pinpointed Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, the Cayman Islands and the Channel Islands among others. As many IP practitioners may have reason to visit these locations for client matters, each week we’ll feature an IP Trip Planner for one of these IP- and tax-friendly locales.

This week, I’m starting with the Cayman Islands. With New York in the midst of very hot weather and my air conditioning malfunctioning, I’m dreaming of a trip to Cayman – if I have to sweat out the heat wave, I would rather be on a tropical beach!

Located in the Caribbean Sea, the Cayman Islands is made up of three islands governed together – Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman – with George Town (on Grand Cayman) as its capital. And, as the Cayman Islands is a self-governing British Overseas Territory, European IP practitioners can rejoice in basing IP in a tax free jurisdiction with laws similar to the UK but with more enjoyable beaches.

The General Registry Office in Grand Cayman maintains a register of companies, patents and trademarks. Several global hotel brands have properties nearby where you might opt to stay for some beach-side rest and relaxation: Ritz-Carlton, Westin, and Marriott. In addition, there are many independent local hotels and villas along the beach, the favorite being the Caribbean Club villas on Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman.

Hungry? In George Town, go to Grand Old House, which is indeed located in a grand old house that was built in 1908. Have a meal on Seven Mile Beach at Mezza, a Mediterranean/ French/ Caribbean fusion restaurant. Or try Deckers, a lively spot on Seven Mile Beach that features al fresco dining and live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights – be sure to order the Blood Orange Mojito, a house specialty!

If you can find some time for fun in the sun, Cayman offers many options. SCUBA diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, hiking, shopping and – my personal favorite – lazing on the beautiful sandy beaches.

The best part about Cayman Islands trip planning is that the Islands’ “Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee” covers cancellation prior to travel or compensation if travel is cut short due to hurricane weather. Many hotels offer penalty-free cancellation, though some have a one-night penalty, for cancellations up to 48 or 24 hours (depending on property) prior to expected arrival. Check with your hotel when booking for details about its hurricane guarantee.

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