The Turks & Caicos Islands introduced a new Trade Marks Ordinance in October 2007 which made provision for the payment of an annual maintenance fee for all trade marks. We have recently been advised that a new schedule of official fees came into force on 29 July 2011, which provides that annual maintenance fees are payable in January every year, starting from 1 January 2012.

The main points of the new requirements are as follows:-

- Annual maintenance fees are due in respect of all trade marks with effect from 1 January 2012;

- The due date for the payment of the fee is 1 January each year. The Registrar has advised that, at the moment, no late fines will be applied if fees are paid after 1 January.

- It is possible to pay all of the annual maintenance fees due on a registration up to and including the next renewal date in one lump sum. However, if the owner does opt to pay all maintenance fees upfront and then subsequently decides to abandon the mark, no refund of the fees already paid will be available.

- The annual fees need to be paid in full before a renewal application can be filed.

- Default in payment of the annual fees for more than one month causes the trade mark rights to be suspended until the fee is paid.

- No 'back fees' for the years 2007 through to 2011 need to be paid.

If you have any questions in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Clients with existing Turks & Caicos trade marks on our records will receive case-specific reminders shortly.