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MFSA launches Fintech Regulatory Sandbox

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has introduced its FinTech Regulatory Sandbox, which provides a controlled regulatory environment where FinTech operators may test their innovations within the financial services sector under prescribed conditions.

Copyright in the Digital Age

Muscat Mizzi Advocates is proud to have assisted the National Book Council (Malta) in drafting a proposed bill to amend the Copyright Act.
The draft intends to update the Copyright Act in order to bring it in line with modern realities of the cultural industry; by transposing the EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and addressing other discrepancies within our national copyright framework.

Debt Collection in Malta

The economic fallout of the recent pandemic has brought about a surge in debt collection claims. The sudden pressure on income for certain businesses necessitates the frugal management of cash flow, to the extent that directors may find themselves in the unenviable position of having to prioritise payments to certain creditors over others just to keep the business afloat. At the same time, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has also increased awareness of the importance of collecting receivables on time.

Crowdfunding on the Blockchain

Crowdfunding may easily represent the most accessible way for SMEs to raise financing. Blockchain is a highly effective and arguably revolutionary technology. Together, crowdfunding and blockchain, are an effective medium between the person launching an idea and those people who intend to participate in that idea.  


Future of Security Token Offerings in Malta

Following the MFSA’s issuance of a “Consultation Document on Security Token Offering- Capital Markets Strategy” in July 2019 and the feedback received from various stakeholders, MFSA has now issued its feedback statement. Here are some of the points discussed in the feedback statement which provide an overview of the envisaged STO framework in Malta.

Using a Maltese “Earlier Right” to Oppose an EUTM Application

In terms of Maltese law, independently of whether one has a registered trade mark or otherwise, mere prior use of a mark in the course of trade, grants the user a proprietary right over the sign, such that they may utilise it to the exclusion of all others, in the location where its force of attraction extends – being that zone of territory where the use of a similar mark may create confusion. 

Employee Share Options in Malta

Employee share options are often used to align the interests of employees with those of the company by tying part of the remuneration package with performance, as reflected in the share price. 

The Registration of Private Residential Lease Agreements and Formalities

The legislation regulating the institute of lease has seen a number of developments over the years. For instance, prior to the amendments introduced in 2010, there was no obligation imposed on the parties to a lease to draw up a written lease agreement. At the time, it was common practice for the lessor and the lessee to merely keep track of payments by recording them into a rent book. 

Muscat Mizzi Advocates to attend and speak at the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit

Muscat Mizzi Advocates will be attending the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit between the 23rd and 24th May.

Our colleague, Dr Deborah Chappell, will be speaking on Thursday 23rd May between 10:50am - 11:10am on the subject of Malta's Role in The Digital World Economy. 

If you wish to meet us during the conference, please contact us on or +356 99849738.


Muscat Mizzi receives 'in principle' approval to act as VFA Agent

Muscat Mizzi Advocates is pleased to announce that its virtual financial assets arm, MMC Consultancy Limited, is in receipt of an ‘in principle’ approval from the Malta Financial Services Authority to be registered as a Virtual Financial Assets Agent. We are thrilled to be amongst the first applicants to receive an ‘in principle’ approval from the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Salient features of the new Copyright Directive - Part 1

The EU’s current legislative framework governing copyright and related rights dates all the way back to 2001 - to a pre-historic digital landscape incredibly different to the present day. This was a time which pre-dated the emergence of the content consumption modes currently in vogue. Back in 2001 Spotify, Youtube, Netflix, Apple Music and the like had yet to make an appearance on our technological devices. In fact, mobile devices with internet access capabilities were about as commonplace as DVD rental shops are in 2019. Truth be told the cultural consumption landscape is unrecognisable and the need for a radical overhaul in this respect was undeniable. 

ESMA’s Advice on ICOs and Crypto-Assets: an endorsement of Malta’s legal framework?

On 9 January 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published its advice to regulators across EU Member States in relation to initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) and crypto-assets in general. It is our view that the advice indirectly endorses Malta’s legal framework on distributed ledger technology and crypto-assets. Below are some of the key points, including a brief explanation on how Malta’s framework corresponds to such: 

Blockchain and Crypto: Looking beyond the hype

The dialogue on the subject of blockchain has evolved since bitcoin achieved mainstream notoriety a few years ago. At the time, markets were told that bitcoin was not blockchain, and that the two terms were not to be confused with one another. The prevailing impression was that there was something sinister about bitcoin and its use case, and that such an aspect could impinge on the progress of blockchain in general. 

Should robots be granted citizenship?

As robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) become more prevalent in the world economy and modern society, timely legislative efforts could help smoothen the proliferation of this technology and prevent undesired consequences. 

Muscat Mizzi Advocates to attend Blockchain Live 2018 in London

Muscat Mizzi Advocates will be attending the Blockchain Live! Conference on the 26th September 2018 at the Olympia, London. The conference represents an important gathering for participants of the blockchain industry and provides a good insight on the latest trends in the blockchain space. 


Blockchain and the future of IP

Ten years from its genesis, blockchain is being touted as the greatest technological innovation since the emergence of the world wide web back in 1991. 2017 was truly the year that blockchain made it to the mainstream, thanks to the meteoric price-hike of cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are built upon blockchain technology. 

Summary of the 3 main acts related to blockchain technology

Malta has established itself as the ‘first mover’ in the regulation of businesses utilising distributed ledger technology (DLT), more commonly known as blockchain. 

Recognising the potential behind blockchain, Maltese lawmakers sought to develop a regulatory environment that addresses the risks arising from sinister uses of the technology while, at the same time, encouraging innovation in this field. 


CJEU announces anonymisation of cases involving natural persons

In a recent press release and following the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has announced that as from the 1st of July 2018, all publications concerning preliminary rulings will be completely devoid of any personal data, as construed within the GDPR and in line with the right to be forgotten. 

A Comprehensive Analysis of the CJEU's Louboutin Ruling

French footwear designer, Christian Louboutin, initiated trade mark infringement proceedings against Dutch footwear retailer, Van Haren, after the latter’s decision to emulate the former’s signature red-soled high-heeled shoes, in a long-running legal battle which eventually ended up before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). 

An appraisal of the MFSA’s proposed ‘Financial Instrument Test’

Pursuant to the ‘Discussion Paper on Initial Coin Offerings, Virtual Currencies and Related Service Providers’, the MFSA has released a consultation document in respect of the ‘financial instrument test’ (the “Test”).

The purpose of the Test is to determine the applicable regulatory framework for initial coin offerings, as well as other services related to distributed ledger technology (“DLT”) assets. 

Everything you need to know about the GDPR

The entry into force of the EU’s new legal framework is expected to transform the data protection landscape across the EU and beyond. This comes at a critical time for consumers, as recent revelations into the Cambridge Analytica debacle have unveiled the vast potential for abuse connected to vast mines of personal data, such as those held by Facebook and other global players in the Big Data industry. Local headlines report that over 6000 Facebook users in Malta alone, may have fallen prey to such practices. 

Extending Trademark Protection Overseas

One of the by-products of an increasingly-globalised world is the rapid increase in cross-border trade. A phenomenon which was hitherto limited to a handful of multinationals, has become standard practice today for a multitude of businesses, including SMEs. One consideration which could be significantly more taxing on smaller businesses when operating cross-border, is the protection of their brand identity.

European Commission launches GDPR portal

The General Data Protection Regulation (the "GDPR") will enter into force on the 25th of May of this year, effectively replacing the Data Protection Directive (the "DPD"), which has been in force since 1995. In the past 23 years, the occurrence of significant technological advances, particularly in the online sphere, coupled with increased commercial exploitation of personal data, have necessitated updated and modernised data protection rules. 


Guidelines issued on procurement of consent under GDPR

​As businesses set out to implement operational changes to phase into the new regulatory environment brought about by the GDPR, many are those who are still struggling to understand the parameters in which data controllers are expected to obtain consent from data subjects as a basis for lawful processing. 

The Right to be Forgotten - Part Two

In May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that search engines, such as Google, assumed the function of a controller and set out the right of data subjects to request the erasure of personal data that is ‘inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant’. 



2018 Budget Highlights

Malta has experienced continued economic growth, going from strength to strength; with real GDP rising from 5.5% in 2016 to 6.3% in June 2017. Additionally, employment figures remain positive, with a 3.1% increase in female participation in the workforce, unemployment reduced to a record low of just 4.1%, and the employment market registering a total increase of 9,500 jobs across the board, 8,500 of which are in the private sector. Moreover, public debt decreased to 57.6% of GDP for 2016, and is projected to decrease even further to 50.8% of GDP in 2018. Inflation has been contained and remains stable at around 1.2%. 

Use and sale of TV multimedia boxes held to be illegal

In a recent ruling, Stichtung Brein v Jack Frederik Wullems (known as Filmspeler), the Courts of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) held that the temporary reproduction of copyright-protected content on TV multimedia boxes, is considered as an infringement of the right-holders’ rights, particularly the right of communication to the public. 

The right to be forgotten – Part One

Negative search engine results can have undesired consequences such as loss of business or employment opportunities. This can be disproportionately unfair if the information is false, misleading or outdated. This principle was confirmed in an important ruling on the subject delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)) in Google Spain and Google Inc. v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González in 2014.

Does Maltese employment law accommodate businesses like Uber?

In a recent landmark ruling, a tribunal in London has ruled that self-employed contractors engaged by Uber are in effect to be treated as “workers”. This decision, which is subject to an appeal by Uber, carries with it implications that should be considered by all tech companies that connect independent contractors with customers – a business model referred to interchangeably as the “gig economy”, the “collaborative economy” or the “on-demand economy”.

Muscat Mizzi Advocates to attend the Hedge Fund Emerging and Startup Manager Forum in Zurich and European Fund Finance Symposium in London

Muscat Mizzi Advocates will be attending the Hedge Fund Emerging and Startup Manger Forum on the 19th October 2016 at The Dolder Grand, Zurich. The conference seeks to introduce the startup and emerging asset management community to key players and service providers, including investors, experienced managers, lawyers, administrators and prime brokers.

Copyright aspects of hyperlinking

A hyperlink, or simply a link, is a reference to data found elsewhere on the internet. It is the most common tool used to share information online and is oftentimes considered to be a sine qua non to the smooth functioning of the internet as an avenue for freedom of expression and information.

The Apple ruling and its relevance to the Maltese tax regime

In a recent State aid ruling delivered by the European Commission’s competition department, Apple Inc., a multinational consumer electronics company, was ordered to pay €13 billion (plus interest) to the Irish Government in the form of retroactive tax payments.

How’s that for ROI…

In July 2016, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (“UFC”) was sold for a price tag of $4 billion, making it the most expensive transaction in history for a sports organisation.

New OECD measures: an opportunity for Malta?

Following recent media scandals, the OECD has intensified its recent work to lay down new international standards to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance amongst others. The OECD has estimated that €90 to €210 billion Euro are being lost every year through tax avoidance. There are currently 15 base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS) actions which are looking to be implemented by the OECD/G20.

Choosing the right business set-up

When it comes to starting your own business, it is important to identify the right set-up to cater for your individual requirements and those of your business. In order to guide you in this journey, we have set out the three most common set-ups used to start a businesses: the sole trader, the partnership and the company.

Cyber Security: The Legal Perspective

Increasingly, cyber attacks have become more than just a matter of public concern but of private concern, as well, as private companies are more frequently targeted by hackers than ever before. Attacks now come from all sides, and attackers may include organized criminals, governments, competitors and even a company’s own employees. The scale of private company attacks has also increased. In the past few years, companies like Adobe, Sony, and Target have all become victims of publicized cyber attacks, which not only caused significant damage to the affected companies’ infrastructure in terms of sabotage and data pilfering but also led to related legal disputes and claims for liability.

Brexit: Part Two

The immediate impact of this upheaval aside, Brexit is one of the most significant social events in Europe of the post-war era – a wholesale rejection of the European project – which will present both challenges and opportunities, if indeed it happens at all.

Brexit: Part One

The 23rd day of June of 2016 marked a historic moment for the European Union – after fifty years of continued expansion and consolidation, one of its largest and most influential member states, the United Kingdom, went to the polls on whether the people wanted to continue its relationship with the EU.

New Arbiter for Financial Services

Launched a little over a year ago the office of the Financial Services Arbiter is designed to be a space where consumers may lodge complaints in respect of the conduct of financial services providers.

Choosing the right brand name

A trademark is what makes one item or service distinguishable from another and in order for it to be effective, it usually has to be distinct from other marks and must have a quality which makes it stand apart.


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