INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN DOMINICA
First Renewal Term
Subsequent Renewal Term
A trademark can be registered in Dominica pursuant to the Marks, Collective Marks, and Trade Names Act No. 12 of 1999, which provides for local trademark applications dating from the receipt of the application.
The trademark applications must be filed with the Company and Intellectual Property Office of the Commonwealth of Dominica (CIPO).
It usually takes about twelve (12) months for the Registrar General of the Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Legal Affairs to process a local application for registration. Paris Convention priority can be claimed. Once the registration is complete, the Registrar General will issue a Certificate of Registration.
In Dominica, the exclusive rights to a trademark are granted only by registration, as it is a ‘first-to-file’ jurisdiction. However, in exceptional cases, well-known trademarks can be protected even if they have not been filed yet.
Dominica follows the 10th edition of Nice Classification. Multi-class trademark applications are acceptable.
In Dominica, opposition actions may be filed against a trademark application during a period of two (02) months following its publication.
Registered trademarks have a validity of ten (10) years from the application date and can then be further renewed indefinitely for consecutive periods of ten (10) years each.
The application for renewal should be filed prior to the expiration date of the registration. A grace period of six (06) months, however, is allowed from the expiration date for the filing of the application for renewal upon payment of a late fee. After this period, an application for restoration may be made.
Once a trademark has been registered in Dominica, there is an annual fee payable to the Dominican Government in January each year. Failure to pay the annual fee will result in the mark losing its Good Standing and the registration rights protected by the registration being placed in abeyance. It will effectively prevent any enforcement action from being taken.
Once registered, the trademark must be used within the three (03) years following its registration; otherwise it will become vulnerable to cancellation actions based on the lack of use. Under certain circumstances, the lack of use may be justified.
A patent can be registered in Dominica pursuant to the Patents Act (Act No. 8 of 1999), which provides for local patent applications.
Dominica has been a Contracting Party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Dominica is signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and accordingly, national phase filing of a PCT patent is possible. The same is encouraged if the applicant is seeking coverage in another domicile. A PCT application can simplify the process of seeking patent protection in countries that are party to the PCT.
The types of patent applications that can be filed include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
The Act states that there is no option of pre-grant opposition available. Any person may, at any time within three (03) months from the date of the advertisement of the acceptance of a complete specification, give notice, at the Registrar's office, of opposition to the grant of the patent on the ground of an applicant having obtained the invention from him, or from a person of whom he is the legal representative, or on the ground that the invention has been patented in the State on application of prior date, or on the ground that the complete specification describes or claim an invention other than that described in the provisional specification, and that the other invention forms the subject of an application made by the opponent in the interval between the grant/approval of the provisional specification, and the complete specification, but on no other ground.
Once a patent has been filed in Dominica, there is an annuity payable to the Dominican Government each year. The first fee is due on the first anniversary of the filing date and subsequent fees are due annually thereafter. Annuities for a PCT issued patent are due on the same dates. Failure to pay an annuity will result in the rights protected by the registration being deemed as withdrawn or abandoned.
A patent registration is valid for twenty (20) years. Once the registration has expired, it cannot be renewed.
The Industrial Designs Act, 1998 - governs and deals with the mechanism of registration of industrial designs in Dominica.
A registered design right in Dominica will be established through registration.
In Dominica, multiple design applications are not possible.
The types of industrial design applications that can be filed in Dominica include Non-Convention Application and Convention Application.
Utility model protection can be availed in Dominica under its prevalent IPR framework.
Opposition cannot be filed by a third party in Dominica during registration process.
The total duration of industrial design registration in Dominica is fifteen (15) years from the date of application. The initial registration term is five (05) years, which is further extendible for two (02) terms of five (05) years each upon payment of the renewal fee.
There is a grace period of six (06) months to renew a registered industrial design.
Dominica is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
The Copyright Act 2003 (No. 5 of 2003) - is the basic legislation governing copyright protection in Dominica.
Although Copyright registration is not mandatory, yet the application to register the subject-matter of copyright may be made at the National Office of Copyright (Oficina Nacional de Derecho de Autor or ONDA). A certificate is issued by the Registrar of Copyright that makes prima-facie evidence of ownership of copyright.
Subject to the provisions of this section, copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work shall be protected during the life of the author and for seventy (70) years after his death. In the case of a work of joint authorship, the economic rights shall be protected during the life of the last surviving author and for seventy (70) years after his death. In the case of a collective work, other than a work of applied art, and in the case of an audio-visual work, the economic rights shall be protected for fifty (50) years from the date on which the work was either made, first made available to the public, or first published, whichever date is the latest.
In the case of a work of applied art, the economic rights shall be protected for twenty-five (25) years from the making of the work
Copyright in a sound recording or film shall expire at the end of fifty (50) years from the date of the calendar year in which it was made, or where it is made available to the public before the end of that period, at the end of fifty (50) years from the end of the calendar year in which it is so made available.
Copyright in a broadcast or cable programme shall expire at the end of seventy (70) years from the end of the calendar year in which the broadcast was made or the programme was included in a cable programme service.