On 1 March 2020, the Vanuatu Trade Marks Office (“VTMO”) announced the introduction of a new annual maintenance fee (“the AM Fee”) for all Vanuatu trade mark registrations.
The AM Fee has currently been set at US$35 and is due on or before the “anniversary date” of the trade mark. The anniversary date is taken from the date of the receipt of the file in the Vanuatu Office (i.e. the filing date). For older Vanuatu marks, which were based on re-registrations of United Kingdom registrations, the anniversary date is calculated from the filing date of the UK mark.
The AM Fee is payable for nine (9) consecutive years before the renewal fee applies. It is not payable on renewal.
The VTMO will issue a reminder notice and invoice for the AM Fee to the agent of record, however, according to present advice, there are delays in the implementation process. As a result, issuance of reminders for the AM Fee may not commence until 2021.
There is currently no official grace period for payment of the AM Fee and no penalty fee for late payment.
The new requirement is an unexpected development that presently seems to be administratively burdensome for international owners of registrations, and we wait to see if there will be some revision once actually operational.
Shelston IP deals directly with the Vanuatu Trade Marks Office and various other South Pacific intellectual property offices with respect to trade mark rights.
If you require further information regarding the Vanuatu AM Fee or assistance with other IP rights in South Pacific jurisdictions, please let us know.
Authored by Kathy Mytton and Sean McManis