Vanuatu Patent Law
The law that govern patents in Vanuatu is the The Patents Act 2003 came into force in 2011, and it is now possible to file independent patent applications in Vanuatu. The Patent Act 2003 Act provides for the registration of substantive (local) patents with or without priority claims.
Vanuatu is member of the following Agreements and Conventions
- Berne Convention
- WIPO Convention
- Power of Attorney (POA) simply signed.
Patent Basic requirements in Vanuatu:
- The applicant’s name, address and nationality;
- Each inventor’s name (please note that if the applicant is not the inventor, the applicant must provide a statement to justify their right to the patent);
- A request for the grant of the patent;
- A description of the invention including the title of the invention;
- One or more claims and any drawings referred to in the description of any claim;
- An abstract i.e. the technical information required in order to understand how the invention works;
- A statement stating whether or not the invention is based on knowledge available within any local or indigenous community whether from Vanuatu or elsewhere;
- A statement disclosing the source and geographical origin of any biological material used for the invention.
Vanuatu Patent Registration Procedure
The patent application is filed at the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO).
The details of your patent application must be published in the Official Gazette of Vanuatu for 28 days. Note that the Registrar must not publish an application or the prescribed details if the application is withdrawn. The Vanuatu Registrar may further omit from publication any matter that in the registrar’s opinion is likely to damage a person or whose publication or exploitation would in the Registrar’s opinion be generally expected to encourage offensive, immoral or anti – social behaviour.
After publication formality examination is conducted on the application to examine whether or not your application complies with the Vanuatu Patents Act 2003.
After the formality examination the applicant must ask for a search by filing in the search application form and the search must be conducted by an examiner to discover the prior relevant art (if any) contain in the application. An examination request may be also ask by the applicant upon filing in the examination form than a substantive examination is further conducted by a examiner to examine whether the invention is new, involves an inventive step, and is capable of industrial application.
Grant of a patent
The Registrar than must grant the applicant a patent if the Registrar is satisfied that:
- the application complies with this Act; and
- the search reports and examination reports show that:
- there is no prior art contain in the application
- The invention is new
- It involves an inventive step
- It is capable of industrial application
- the prescribed fees for the grant of patent is paid and
- there is no opposition to the grant of the patent.
Publication of Grant
The patent granted need to be published in the Official Gazette in Vanuatu.
A patent can be granted for 20 years starting on the filing date of the application for the patent.
The payment of annual fee is required to keep the patent in force in Vanuatu. The patent will lapsed if the owner does not pay the annual prescribed renewal fee for the patent each year in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu allows claims to convention priority from applications in countries deemed to be a convention country under the regulations, but is not a member of the Paris convention. Priority can be claimed if application is filed within 12 months of initial application.
The following inventions are not Patentable in Vanuatu:
- plants or animals other than micro-organisms;
- biological processes for the production of plants or animals other than non-biological and micro biological processes;
- diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals:
- a discovery, scientific theory or mathematical method;
- a scheme, rule or method for performing a mental act, playing a game or doing business;
- a program for a computer.
Vanuatu Trademark Law
The legal basis of trademark law in Vanuatu is the Vanuatu Trademarks Act 2003 (“VTA 2003”) which entered into force on February 8, 2011, following its publication in the Official Gazette.
* The VTA 2003 repealed the Registration of the United Kingdom Trademarks Act (Cap 81) as amended (“old Act”).
* The VTA 2003 provided a new trademark registration system, and all trademarks which had been registered under the old Act became registered under the VTA 2003.
- Vanuatu is member of the WIPO
- Vanuatu is not a member of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
The VTA 2003 also states that it does not affect the law relating to passing-off, except for as provided in Section 109.
The VTA 2003 established a local system of registration.
The Registrar was appointed from in 2011, regulations have been passed, and the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO) was established in 2012.
The VIPO acts as a registry and accepts applications.
Vanuatu is not a first-to-file jurisdiction.
Trade mark applications in Vanuatu can cover:
• more than one class of goods or services
• colours, shapes, sounds or smells.
* Applications cannot cover a series of trade marks.
Nice classification, 11th edition. Multiple-class applications are possible.
- Power of Attorney (POA) simply signed.
* Certified copy of UK registration issued by the United Kingdom Comptroller-General or international registration [optional] or certified copy of CTM registrations [optional]. These documents assist during the examination stage.
Vanuatu Trademark Registration Procedure
The application is filed with the Registrar of Trademarks, located at the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO).
The VIPO allows claims to convention priority from applications in countries deemed to be a convention country under the regulations.
The application process includes a formal examination by the Registrar, as well as an examination on absolute and relative grounds.
The Registrar will consider whether the trademark may be registered in accordance with the terms of the VTA 2003.
The application will also be examined for distinctiveness of the trademark.
The Registrar will reject applications if the trademark consists of scandalous matter, its use is contrary to law, the trademark is likely to deceive or cause confusion, or the trademark is substantially identical with a trademark already registered or applied for.
Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the official gazette prior to registration.
National Opposition Period
The opposition period is 28 days from details being published in the Gazette.
The timeframe for registration is approximately from 12 to 18 months.
The trademark registration in Vanuatu is valid for 10 years after the filing date of the application for its registration.
The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
The grace period for renewals is three (3) months.
* Vanuatu allows claims to convention priority from applications in countries deemed to be a convention country under the regulations, but is not a member of the Paris convention.
Use Requirements of Trademark in Vanuatu
A non-use application may be made at any time after 5 years from the registration date on the grounds that the trade mark not use within 3 years and 1 month from the date of the removal application.
Letter of Consent in Vanuatu
Letter of Consent of Co-existance of trademarks is accepted in Vanuatu in Case by case basis and at Registrar’s discretion.