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Vanuatu (VU)

Dec 09, 2014 (Newsletter Issue 19/14)
Official Fees Amended
The Orders No. 2014 and No. 2015 regulating the amendment of official fees for designs and trademarks came into effect as of 9 October 2014.
They were published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Vanuatu No. 80 dated 22 October 2014.

For more information please check here

Source: and Source: AJ Park, New Zealand

Apr 17, 2012 (Newsletter Issue 6/12)
New Local TM Registration System
The Trademarks Act 2003 (Vanuatu) came into force in Vanuatu on February 8, 2011 after its publication in the Official Gazette in Vanuatu. No supporting regulations were passed to support that legislation, and until December 2011, the trade marks laws in Vanuatu was unclear.

On December 1, 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
- There is a transitional period during which applications, notices or requests that were made in accordance with the old Act and were pending immediately before the commencement of the new Act are considered to have been filed in accordance with the new Act.
- The Act introduces examination (absolute and relative) provisions, acceptance, opposition, and registration provisions
- The Act allows applicants to file for a trademark registration on the basis of intention to use and for goods, services or both.
- 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.

Source: A J Park, New Zealand

Feb 07, 2012 (Newsletter Issue 2/12)
Accession to WIPO Convention
The Government of Vanuatu has deposited its instrument of accession to the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO Convention), signed at Stockholm on July 14, 1967, and as amended on September 28, 1979. The WIPO Convention becomes effective on March 2, 2012.

For more information on the notification, please click here


The legal basis of trademark law in Vanuatu is the Vanuatu Trademarks Act 2003 (“VTA 2003”). This entered into force on 8 February 2011.
The VTA 2003 established a local system of registration, and all trademarks which had been registered under the old Act, United Kingdom Trademarks Act (Cap 81), became registered under the VTA 2003.
Vanuatu is not a member of the Madrid Agreement or Protocol.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. The VTA 2003 states that it does not affect the law relating to passing-off, except as provided for in Section 109.
The Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO) was established in 2012. The VIPO acts as a registry and accepts applications.
Nice classification, 11th edition
The Vanuatu Trademarks Act defines a trademark as “a sign used, or intended to be used, to distinguish goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade by a person from goods or services dealt with or provided in the course of trade by another person.” A sign is defined as including “a letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device, brand, heading, label, ticket, aspect of packaging, shape, color, sound or scent, or any combination of these”.
A trademark application cannot cover a series of marks.
A trademark may be registered for goods, services, or both.
The application is filed with the Registrar of Trademarks, located at the Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office (VIPO).
Multiple-class applications are possible.
Foreign applicants need a local address for service.
The VIPO allows claims to convention priority from applications in countries deemed to be a convention country under the regulations.
Although Vanuatu is not a member of the Paris Convention, it is possible to claim convention priority from an application made in a ‘Convention country’. A list of Convention countries is available at
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 Vanuatu Trademarks Act 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.
The timeframe for registration is approximately 12 – 18 months.
An interested third party can file an opposition action within 28 days from publication of the application in the Official Gazette.
Trademark registration is valid for 10 years after the filing date of the application. Registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
Practical details on grace periods for trademark renewals are available in our publication here
The official fee is USD 150 per application. The fee for each additional class (including collective marks) is USD 50. The fee for claiming convention priority is USD 100.
The official registration fee us USD 350.
Maintenance fees have not yet been implemented by the VIPO.

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Practical details on trademark licensing are available in our publication here
Online you can see a limited part of information about this country.
More in-depth details are available for the following aspects:

     General Trademark Regulations
     Grace Period for Trademark Renewal
     Trademark Licensing

If you like to purchase all available information for this country, click the order button.
The total price is 49.00 EUR. A PDF-Download will be sent to you electronically.

SMD Group thanks the following law firms for their assictance in updating the information provided.

Aug 29, 2023
AJ Park, Auckland, New Zealand  

Vanuatu Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Industry (VIPO)
Private Mail Bag 9056
Port Vila
Republic of Vanuatu
Tel +678 40433 / +678 3999
Fax +678 25 677