There are many challenges to overcome when operating in a
foreign country, including different business and legal rules. If
you're considering operating in Fiji, you should take the time
to identify what aspects of your business should be protected
through Intellectual Property (IP) law. Protecting
your rights is a powerful deterrent against would-be infringers and
an important part of managing your brand and your business.
What are the ground rules?
There are three main pieces of legislation governing IP in
Patents Act (Cap 239)
Copyright Act 1999
Trade marks Act (Cap 240)
The Attorney General's Office, with assistance from the IP
Office, administers the registry for Patents and Trademarks. All
filings (and searches) must be done in person at the registry
office in Suva and records are not computerised.
Registration for a new Fiji trademark can take anywhere up to
three years from the start of the process. Trademark registration
in Fiji is based on traditional British classifications and is yet
to migrate to the International Nice Classification. This means
that most trademark registrations will need to be reclassified into
different categories to those recognised in other countries. Local
trademark registrations must be renewed every 14 years (from date
It is also possible to re-register a UK trademark on the Fiji
register. This does not require notice or an opposition period and
is often a simpler and quicker process. UK based trademarks must be
renewed once the UK trademark registration expires.
Service marks are not registrable in Fiji.
Applications for UK patent re-registrations are permitted in
Fiji, provided such applications are made within three years of
applying in the UK. The patent will be recognised in Fiji for the
length of the registration in the UK. Advertising is necessary;
however, the opposition period is waived.
Independent patent applications are also permitted, however
these take a considerable length of time to be registered as
applications are sent to Australia for examination.
While new copyright legislation was introduced in 2000, there is
no registration system in place. Instead, the legislation provides
that copyright is a property right that exists in original works of
certain descriptions and the author of the work is the first
How are rights enforced?
In Fiji, most rights must be enforced through private action for
damages and injunction. There are also provisions under the
Customs Act 1986 and accompanying regulations that prevent
the importation of goods that infringe existing trademark, patent
or copyright protection.
Rockwell Olivier can help you and your company to audit what
rights you currently have in Fiji, search existing registers,
prepare and lodge any relevant application forms and follow the
application through to final award of rights. Protecting your IP
rights, even in complicated jurisdictions, is fundamental to the
longevity of your business operations, in Fiji and across the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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