11 April 2012

Vanuatu: Trade mark applications now possible

We have today heard from our associate in Vanuatu that the forms and fees for its new trade marks law have now been gazetted. Readers may recall that pending this the trade mark situation in Vanuatu was in a state of limbo.

Vanuatu has a population estimated to be approaching 250,000 and is an offshore financial services hub. It achieved independence in 1980 after being governed as a British-French condominium. English and French remain official languages along with the local creole, Bislama.

Under the previous legislation, it was possible to file directly with the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission. However, under the new law the trade marks authority is a new one and it is necessary to have an address for service in Vanuatu. We have a trusted associate in the Vanuatuan capital of Port Vila. My firm's fees (including the official fees and that of my associate) for a new filing in one class including dispatch of the Certificate of Registration assuming no problems are in the region of US$1250.

Convention priority is available under the new law and the "convention countries" have been published. I do not have a copy of the publication to hand but can anticipate this includes members of the Paris Convention.

It is anticipated that the processing of applications will be fairly efficient but as the new law is more substantive than that previously in force, we will need to wait and see if this proves to be the case. The situation in Vanuatu has been unpredictable of late and some will be less optimistic that everything will run quite so smoothly.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you require any assistance with registering your trade marks in Vanuatu and we would be pleased to help.