The lockdown in April saw a significant drop in business registrations at the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA). Whereas BIPA normally registers more than a thousand businesses a month, the months of April and May 2020, saw only 133 and 261 registrations, respectively.

However, the picture turned rosier in June 2020, when 1 064 businesses were registered. This however stands in contrast to the 1 458 businesses that were registered in July 2019. For the period 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, BIPA registered 11 691 businesses, the bulk being CCs (7 442) and Defensive Names (3 287).

During lockdown, the Authority was forced to roll out its on-line services, despite the platform not being fully functional. This was done to assist clients to continue submitting applications, even if they were not able to leave their homes. From April to July 2020, the authority processed 2 217 applications that were received directly to its offices, and 135 which was received online. This is a total of 2 352 applications that were processed from the 11 970 that were submitted.

According to BIPA, the backlog was caused by numerous system errors and power outages, which hampered the authority’s ability to attend to applications and queries in a timely manner. This led to BIPA announcing a three-week delay in its processing in July.

Notably, there was a marked increase in the number of business registrations for companies (PTYs) in December 2019 when 119 companies were registered. Furthermore, business registrations for CCs spiked in October 2019 with 904 registrations, and again in March 2020 with 839 registrations.