Fiji Set to Become Paris Convention Member
On the 19th October 2023, Fiji deposited its instrument of accession to the Paris Convention, meaning the Paris Convention will enter into force for Fiji on the 19th January 2024.
From the 19th January 2024, Fiji nationals will be able to make use of the priority rights provided for in the Paris Convention by making an application in another member country of the Paris Convention while claiming the priority date of the corresponding application in Fiji. Currently, nationals of Fiji can only make use of the Paris Convention if they are domiciled in or have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in another member country of the Paris Convention.
Apart from those exceptions, nationals of Fiji cannot currently make use of the Paris Convention. However, at a bilateral level a number of countries, including New Zealand and Australia, recognise priority rights from Fiji on equivalent terms to those under the Paris Convention. Namely, 6-months for trade marks and designs, and 12-months for patents.
For trade marks and patents, Fiji currently has two paths to registration. Protection can be obtained either from a national filing or by re-registering a UK right in Fiji.
Re-registration in Fiji needs to be applied for within 3-years of the date of grant of the UK patent and within 3-years of the date of the publication of the mention of grant for an EP(UK) patent. The re-registered patent will expire when the corresponding UK or EP(UK) patent expires.
- Re-registration of a UK trade mark in Fiji can be made at any time that the UK trade mark is in force and expires when the UK trade mark is cancelled or is due for renewal. Renewal of the trade mark in Fiji requires proof that the UK trade mark has been renewed.
Currently, UK designs automatically extend to Fiji with no separate national filing available.
In 2021, new core intellectual property legislation was passed in Fiji – namely the Trade Marks Act 2021, Patents Act 2021 and the Designs Act 2021. Along with a raft of modernising changes, Fiji’s adoption and implementation of the Paris Convention is assumed in all these Acts. These Acts have yet to commence with no sign yet of the implementing regulations, so it is not yet clear whether they will also commence on the 19th January 2024.
Authors: Quinn Miller and Thomas Robinson-Piper