Examination of the trademark law
Ten years following its enactment, Dominica put into force on 2nd February, 2009, its Marks, Collective Marks and Trade Names Act 1999. The dual system of local and UK-based applications has been abolished and it will no longer be possible to file an application in Dominica based on a UK mark.
This new law brings some important changes:
- Nice Classification. By the adoption of this classification, it is possible to file multi-class applications and collective marks can be registered.
- Electronic and fax filing. The applicant needs to sign only an authorization form before a witness whose signature must be notarized; no legalization thereof is required.
- Retention of Common Law Doctrines. Official examination for absolute and relative grounds of refusal. The common law doctrine of passing off, and “honest concurrent user”; legal priority to the first user rather than the first to file.
- Transitional Period. Any applicant or owner of a UK registration may file an application to register the same mark in Dominica and thereby obtain the same filing/registration date in Dominica as for the UK mark.
- Validity Period. Ten years from application date. (Existing registrations keep their term of 14 years until their next renewal).
- Use and Non-use. Prior use is not required; the applicant needs only to declare an intent to use. Removal from the register for non-use can be sought by an interested third party, but only after 3 years of continuous non-use following registration which may be forgiven in special circumstances and upon evidence that there was no intent to abandon or not use the mark.