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Trinidad and Tobago (TT)

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07-28-2015 (Newsletter Issue 12/15)
New Laws Soon
After considering the Trade Marks Bill, 2014 in April of this year, the Senate of Trinidad & Tobago assented to the Trade Marks Act, 2015 on June 12, 2015. The remaining step to bring the new Act into effect is a proclamation, which will likely happen after completion of companion regulations. This new act will replace the existing Trade Marks Act, Chap. 82:81

Perhaps most notably, the act allows the Minister in charge of intellectual property to make regulations giving effect to the provisions of the Madrid Protocol. This positions Trinidad to become one of the few Commonwealth Caribbean countries to implement Madrid – the only other country having done so thus far being Antigua & Barbuda. Implementation of Madrid may be an exciting prospect to many trademark applicants, as it allows for simplified filing across multiple jurisdictions simultaneously. However, some countries have taken to issuing regular provisional refusals, and it is possible that the Intellectual Property Office in Trinidad will follow suit. The Registry in Antigua & Barbuda regularly issues provisional refusals to international applications which must be dealt with individually and on a local basis.

Another important change for mark owners is that the new act will implement the most recent version of the Nice Classification system. At present, Trinidad still follows the Seventh Edition of the Nice Classification, which only protects goods and services up to Class 42. Bringing the most current version of Nice into effect will be an exciting change for trademark owners, as they will be able to better protect their goods and services of interest.

Source: Caribbean IP, USA


06-30-2015 (Newsletter Issue 10/15)
Draft Trade Marks Bill
The new Trade Marks Bill, 2014 went before the Senate of Trinidad and Tobago for consideration on April 13, 2015. Once passed into law as the Trade Marks Act, the bill would repeal and replace the current Trade Marks Act, Chap. 82:81. Perhaps most notably, the bill includes provisions that would allow the Minister responsible for intellectual property rights to make regulations giving effect to the provisions of the Madrid Protocol. Thus, Trinidad and Tobago is paving the way towards implementation of the Madrid Protocol and allowing designation of the country on international applications filed through the World Intellectual Property Organization. It would be one of the first Commonwealth Caribbean countries to implement the Madrid Protocol—the only other country that has done so thus far is Antigua and Barbuda.

The Trade Marks Bill provides for greater protection of well-known trademarks in the islands. There are also a number of provisions regarding border enforcement measures. These provisions allow for trademark owners to alert the Comptroller of Customs & Excise to potentially infringing goods that are being transited to or through the country. Notably, trademark owners will be required to deposit an amount of funds to cover any expenses incurred by the State in seizing and investigating the potentially infringing goods.

Although it has been possible to register certification marks under the current legal framework, it will also be possible to register collective marks under the new law.

With respect to classification of goods and services, the bill indicates that goods and services “shall be classified … according to a prescribed system of classification,” leaving the door open to implementation of the most recent version (the tenth edition) of the Nice Classification. Trinidad and Tobago currently adheres to the seventh edition of the Nice Classification, which provides registration up to Class 42 only.

Applicants will be allowed to convert pending applications that have not yet been advertised to become applications examined under the new law. This process will require the applicant to give notice to the Controller and pay a prescribed fee; however, it is important to note that conversion will be possible only for six months after the commencement of the new law. Existing registered marks will be deemed registered trademarks for the purposes of the new law. While existing disclaimers or limitations entered on the register under the prior law will remain viable, all associations entered with respect to other registered marks will cease to have effect upon commencement of the new law.

Once the new law becomes effective—hopefully by the end of this year—no application for revocation of an existing registered mark registered under the prior law may be made until more than five years have passed from the commencement of the new law. Importantly, the new law increases the non-use period from three years to five years.

Source: INTA Bulletin Vol. 70 No. 11 of June 15, 2015
Contributor: Caribbean IP, USA and verifier: J.D. Sellier + Co., Trinidad and Tobago




Legal basis is the Trademarks Act Chp. 82:81 (as amended) since 1997.
Trinidad & Tobago is not a member of the Madrid Agreement, the Madrid Protocol and the European Union.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
It can also be acquired by use or if recognised as a famous mark.
Nice classification, 7th edition
Registrable as a trademark are goods which include a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral or any combination thereof, or packaging of goods or their shape provided, however, that the trade mark does not exclusively consist of the shape which results from the nature of the goods themselves, or which is necessary to obtain a technical result or which gives substantial value to the goods. Services which includes a device, name, signature, word, letter, numeral or any combination thereof.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks and certification marks.
The application is filed at the Intellectual Property Office.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
An application can include goods in any number of classes, but with additional charges for each additional class.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A power of attorney authenticated by any Consulate is not necessary.
Foreign applicants do need a domestic registration.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks.
Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if distinctiveness has been acquired by use.
Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published once in a daily national newspaper prior to registration. The publication is weekly.
The approximate time frame for completing the registration process of a trademark in Trinidad & Tobago is from 8 months to 2 years.
National:
The opposition period is 3 months from publication date of the application.
Protection begins with the date of application. A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months starting from the expiration date of the trademark.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
A trademark which has not been used, can be subject to cancellation proceedings and removal from the Register either where
(a) it has been registered without honest or bona fide intention to use it and there has been no such intention over a three year period;
(b) there was no bona fide use of the mark for at least a five year period.


Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official application fee is TTD 300 for one class and TTD 100 for each additional class. Publication fee is approximately TTD 300 - 1,000 (depending on size of publication). Registration fee is TTD 150.

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Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

Country Survey
02-03-2015
Hamel-Smith & Co., Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

07-06-2012
Hamel-Smith & Co., Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago



Intellectual Property Office
3rd Floor
Capital Plaza
11-13 Frederick Street
Port of Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel +1 868 625 9972
Fax +1 898 624 1221
Mail info@ipo.gov.tt
www.ipo.gov.tt