As you may be aware, a new Patents Act (Act No. 8 of 1999) was promulgated in Dominica on 7 October 1999, and finally became effective upon issuance of the Implementing Regulations on 25 August 2008. Since then, we have been awaiting the acceptance by the Dominica Registry of patent annuity payments. We are pleased to report that the Registrar has finally announced that he will now accept annuity payments. 

As usual in jurisdictions such as this, however, it is not absolutely clear which annuities are now payable. The new Patents Act states that annual renewal fees are payable on all pending applications and patents granted under the new and former Acts. The Act requires payment of annual fees in advance 'starting one year after the filing date of the application for the grant of the patent' (Section 28(2)). However, the Registrar has decided that annuities are due as from the date of coming into effect of the new Act, and therefore considers that annuities must be paid in respect of the anniversary of the filing date which fell due in 2008 and each subsequent anniversary thereafter. Hence, for example, an application filed in 2003 would be at its fifth anniversary in 2008. Therefore, annuities would apparently now be payable as follows:-

- for the 5th anniversary of the filing date (2008) 
- for the 6th anniversary of the filing date (2009) 
- for the 7th anniversary of the filing date (2010).

However, it is not yet clear whether the 'filing date' of PCT national phase applications and reregistration applications is deemed to be, respectively, the PCT filing date and the EP(UK) filing date, or whether it is deemed to be the local filing date in Dominica. It appears to be the latter, i.e. that annuity due dates are to be calculated from the local filing date in Dominica, although this is contrary to the procedure adopted in most other jurisdictions worldwide. Furthermore, it is not yet clear whether anniversaries which occurred in 2008 before the date on which the new law came into force (25 August) will attract annuity fees for that year or not. To be safe, we are proceeding on the assumption that any date falling in 2008 will incur an annuity fee.

The Registrar is allowing a two (2) month grace period within which to pay all outstanding annuities, i.e. until the end of September 2010 , and if these annuities are not duly paid, a patent or patent application will be deemed to have lapsed.

Please let us know if you would like us to attend to the payment of the annuities which are now due on any of your cases. Please ensure that all of your Dominican patent cases are accounted for. 

In view of the uncertainties outlined above, it may turn out that other annuities are payable. If this comes to light, and there are any fees due which have not been accounted for herein, we would be grateful for your confirmation upon instructing us to pay any annuities that we should pay all due fees in order to safeguard your patent case(s).

We look forward to hearing from you should you require any assistance in this matter.