New local trade mark registration system for Vanuatu

Article  \  26 Mar 2012

On 1 December 2011, a new Registrar was appointed and the new law became effective.  Since then, the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office has been established within the Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Industry, and more supporting regulations have been passed.  New filings and recordals are now being accepted at the new Ministry.

The new legislation transforms the trade mark registration system from a re-registration system (based on registrations achieved in any member state of the European Union) to a local registration system.

Some highlights of the new registration system are:

  • trade mark applications can also claim convention priority from convention countries declared by regulation.  A list of countries that fall within the definition of "convention country" is yet to be declared at this stage.
  • trade mark applications can cover multiple classes
  • applicants must have a local address for service
  • the Act introduces examination (absolute and relative) provisions, acceptance, opposition, and registration provisions
  • the grace period for renewals is three months.

The Act also confirms that all registrations achieved under the Registration of EU Trade Marks [Cap. 81] will still be considered valid registrations under the new Act.

We are able to continue to assist all of our clients with trade mark matters in Vanuatu.  If you need any assistance, please contact us.