Why and how to register a trademark in Vanuatu

In Vanuatu, trademark registration is mandatory to be granted rights over a trademark, as it is a "first to file" jurisdiction. Only in some exceptional cases can an unregistered trademark be protected. 

The trademark applications must be filed with the Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Vanuatu.

It is not necessary for a trademark to be in use in Vanuatu in order for it to register.

If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Vanuatu, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.

Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity.

Opposition actions may be filed by interested third parties against a trademark application within a period of 28 days following its publication in the Official Gazette. The probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.

Registered trademarks in Vanuatu have a validity of ten (10) years from the application date and can be renewed indefinitely for further periods of ten (10) years. The trademark renewal can be requested during the grace period of three (3) months after expiration, upon payment of a late renewal fee.

Although a trademark does not have to be in use in order for it to register, it must not go unused for more than three consecutive years after registration or it will become vulnerable to cancellation actions based on lack of use of the trademark. Cancellation actions can only be filed more than five (5) years after the filing date.


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