Topic: Intellectual Property
Recent years have seen an unprecedented rise of the FinTech industry, i.e. financial technology businesses. According to the World Fintech Report 2017, more than half of financial services users worldwide do business with at least one non-traditional service provider, while traditional financial services firms are desperately trying to foster innovation (and usually end up seeking partnerships with or outright buying out FinTech start-ups). According to the same report, venture capital funding in FinTech companies reached close to US$25 billion in 2015.
FinTech companies have experienced major growth in recent years mainly due to addressing the needs of financial institutions with respect to modernising payment services and improving customer experience in the digital age. As the industry matures, however, FinTechs will have to deal with attention from regulators, a wave of mergers and consolidations and a slow-down or drop in valuation, and they will need a more pragmatic approach to business development, with a stronger focus on IP management and exit strategies.
As one of the foremost offshore financial centres, home to circa 70% of the world’s offshore investment funds, the Cayman Islands may soon become an attractive destination for FinTech entrepreneurs aiming to provide solutions for capital markets analytics, trading and portfolio management, as well as risk management and compliance. According to another recent report, a third of hedge fund managers are already using some type of FinTech-related solutions for their investment strategies and are carefully monitoring the FinTech landscape to maintain their competitive edge. Overall, FinTech can flourish in the Cayman Islands through synergies with already established industries.
The Cayman Islands legal framework has been modernized to cover intellectual property rights in the digital age. FinTechs generally own a combination of an established “brand” or “trade name” (including logos or icons) protected as registered or unregistered trademarks and original works including software and codes which in certain cases may benefit from copyright protection. In some cases, patents and industrial designs are also included. All these IP rights are protected under Cayman Islands laws to the same standards as in the UK.