As previously reported on this website, Patent Law No. 2 of 2003 finally came into force in November 2015, and the Registration of UK Patents Act (CAP. 80) was thereby repealed.


The Vanuatu IPO advised us at that time that the transitional provisions of the new law should be interpreted to the effect that any UK-based reregistration patent granted under the Registration of UK Patents Act is taken to have been registered under Patent Law No. 2 of 2003, such that the term of such patents will expire 20 years after their local filing date in Vanuatu. Under the repealed law, such reregistration patents were deemed to expire upon expiry of the corresponding UK patent.


The new law also stipulates that annual renewal fees are payable on patent cases. Since the promulgation of this law, we have been awaiting clarification from the newly-installed Vanuatu IPO as to whether renewal fees are payable on old-law reregistration patents and, if so, which fees are payable. We have finally now received clarification from the IPO that accumulated back annuities are indeed payable on all live patents, including UK-based reregistration patents, and are payable annually calculated from the local filing date.


The Registrar is currently preparing schedules of our cases, setting out which fees are payable in respect of these cases, and we have just received the first listing. We will endeavour to write to our clients on all cases for which renewal fees have now been called for by the IPO, but we would recommend that you also check your own records and ensure that all cases are accounted for.


Whilst the Registrar has not set a deadline as such for the payment of the relevant back annuities, but has merely requested that they be paid by the end of 2019, we would strongly recommend that all due fees be paid as soon as possible so as to regularise each case still of interest to patent proprietors.


For further information or assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.