In April 2013, the Government of the British Virgin Islands adopted a new law to revamp its trademark regime established in the 19th century.
A year later, the draft Trademark Rules has finally been released. The passage of the new Rules is expected later this year.
The draft Rules aims to implement the following changes:
– Electronic filing at the Registrar’s discretion will be possible;
– The Registrar will be required to provide a notice of irregularities for each application, should there be any.
The applicant will have to respond within 2 months of the receipt of the notice, failing which his application will be deemed abandoned;
– An immediate opposition period of three months. If the applicant does not respond, the application will be deemed canceled. The Registrar may require security for costs from the opponent, however this could be done only if the latter does not reside or carry on business in the British Virgin Islands;
– The Registrar may, at its sole discretion, reclassify the specification of a registered mark if it is not in accordance with the Nice Classification. The applicant must then submit any objections he may have within 2 months; after that period the Registrar will proceed with executing the changes it considers appropriate. Third parties may object to the filing of the trademark within one month in the case of a new application, or within 2 months if the trademark was already registered.
Once again, the Registrar may require security for costs if they do not reside or carry on business in the British Virgin Islands;
– The Registrar may order extensions of time up to two months for opposition procedures;
– The Registrar may restore non-renewed trademarks within 6 months of their expiration date upon payment of penalty fees;
– In addition to all that, the draft Rules provides instructions on the procedure for approval as a trademark agent.
These provisions are likely to be amended before the final Trade Mark Rules are passed in the British Virgin Islands.