Intellectual property law in Papua New Guinea – a guide for businesses
If you're thinking about selling your product in Papua New Guinea (PNG), then you should consider intellectual property (IP) protection. For both foreign and local businesses, IP protection offers a number of benefits, including acting as a deterrent for would-be infringers.
IP laws in PNG are similar to legislation in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Some legislation, such as the Trade Marks Act 1978, was adopted directly from Australia.
The three main pieces of legislation involving IP in PNG are:
Trade Marks Act 1978;
Patents and Industrial Designs Act 2000; and
Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2000.
The Intellectual Property Office of Papua New Guinea (IPOPNG) controls the registration of patents, trade marks and designs. All lodgements for filing at IPOPNG now have to be done online. IPOPNG now has electronic registries for trademarks, patents and industrial design searches.
Registration of Trade Marks
10 years | Renewable
The application fee to register a trade mark or series of trade marks for goods/services in a prescribed class is PGK250 (approximately AUD$95). For each additional class the prescribed fee is PGK200 (approximately AUD$75). Schedule 4 of the Trade Marks Regulations 1979 provides a complete list of the prescribed fees.
After the trade mark has been filed together with the filing fees and an advertisement of the acceptance of an application for trade mark registration has been made by IPOPNG, a period of 3 months is allowed from the date of the advertisement for any interested party to file an opposition notice opposing the registration of the trademark. After the expiration of the 3 months period and there have been no objections lodged at IPOPNG, then the IPOPNG will issue a notice confirming that the trademark has been approved for registration in which case a fee of K350 (approximately AUD$130) will be payable for each trade mark registration.
An application for registration of a trade mark must be made in the prescribed form (i.e. Form 4). Form 4 must be filed at the IPOPNG and the prescribed fee(s) must be paid at the time of submitting the application(s).
Registration of Patents
20 years | Non-renewable
The prescribed fee is PGK1000 (approximately AUD$375). If the application includes an amino acid sequence or a nucleotide sequence filed on a compact disc or by other electronic means then the prescribed fee is PGK1500 (approximately AUD$564). Schedule 1 of the Patents and Industrial Designs Regulation 2002 provides a complete list of the prescribed fees.
The process starts by making an application for registration of Application for a Patent Lodgement and paying the prescribed fee(s). Annual fees are required to be paid for the duration of the patent.
Registration of Industrial designs
5 years | Renewable for two further consecutive periods of 5 years
The prescribed fee for the application is PGK300 (approximately AUD$120). Schedule 1 of the Patents and Industrial Designs Regulation 2002 provides a complete list of the prescribed fees.
An application for registration of an industrial design must be made in the prescribed form (i.e. Form 5). At the time of lodgement the prescribed fee must be paid. Renewal fees are required to be paid if being renewed.
Enforcement of IP rights
IP rights are private rights and are normally enforced by the IP owner against the infringer. The PNG courts have the power to make a range of orders including interim injunctions, provisional seizure orders or an award for compensatory damages.
In addition, the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulation (Ch.101) deals with the importation of goods that infringe upon IP rights. When PNG customs detects items that infringe upon IP rights, they are able to stop the clearance of the goods and detain them. The suspension and detention lasts up to 10 working days, during which time the IP owner is required to commence legal proceedings against the importer for breach of intellectual property rights. The IP owner is also required to request the court to impose a provisional seizure order for the goods to be further detained by customs.
Kidu Lawyers assists our clients by:
conducting revelant IP searches;
preparation and lodgement of any relevant application forms; and
following the application process to the end.