Papua New Guinea Monthly Intellectual Property Report

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Approximately 200 trade mark applications were filed at the Registry last quarter and subject to there being no opposition proceedings instituted by 24 March 2018 or any extended time thereafter an estimated 150 applications will proceed to registration.

For those that are proceeding to registration later this month, there’s some interesting information on hand.

I’ve never seen a list of specification of goods that exceeds 5 A4 sheets but the “ASOS” trade mark filed by ASOS PLC, a United Kingdom Public Limited Company has a staggering 9 pages.  The application with the allotted number 75123 has been filed in class 35 and covers just about all the goods one can imagine in this class.  This brings an important point about how the Intellectual Property Office addresses specifications described as “All Goods in Class ….”.  This kind of description is no longer accepted by the Registry as far as I’m aware.

Several years back, maybe about a decade ago, this form of wording the specification was acceptable, however, that practice has changed and the examiner now takes a more stringent approach in ensuring that each particular good or service must be specified in the application.  That is a common-sense approach as applicants can often be quite lazy when it comes to specifying goods.

Out of the 150 applications proceeding to registration about 5% of those applications have been filed by local PNG companies.  It’s not a lot really but it’s understandable given Papua New Guinea relies heavily on a lot of imports particularly at the consumer level.

One of PNG’s leading insurance companies QBE is also looking at launching a new campaign if their recent filing “QBE Made Possible” is any indication.

Biggest Filers

So, who are the big successful filers this quarter?

 Solomon Islands tuna cannery Soltuna Limited has 8 applications passing through to registration all in class 29 for canned fish and the like.  Their brands aren’t new as they’ve been in various overseas markets but it does seem that the company has interests in expanding their variety here in PNG given that the trade marks the subject of these applications seem to reflect distinctive products.

Intertek Group PLC a UK based technology business has 10 applications passing through to registration and so too is Carpenters Motors (Vanuatu) Limited which has trade marks covering the motor vehicle industry.

Apple Inc. one of the biggest global filers has 13 applications for the famous apple trade mark progressing to registration.  Interestingly, much of the applications cover not mobile or computer goods but goods like toys, clothing, footwear, shorts and so on.  Could this be signs that Apple might be venturing into the clothing industry or are they just being protective of their marks when used on apparel.

The biggest filer with applications proceeding to registration is Philip Morris with 15 applications primarily under classes 9 and 34.

Lapsed Applications

About 20 applications lapsed this quarter and unless immediate steps are taken to appeal the decision of the Registrar to allow them to lapse, the trade marks could vanish forever which means if the applicants want to maintain these applications, they’ll have to start all over again. 

There are varying reasons why applications lapse and two main reasons could be that the applicant has decided not to proceed further or that the applicant has failed to respond to official actions issued by the Examiner even though the applicant still maintains its interest in pursuing the registrations.  The latter should be a concern to applicants and if they still maintain their interest in prosecuting the applications, immediate action should be taken to appeal the decision of the Registrar. 

Interestingly, most of the marks that are listed under the lapse section of the official journal have been filed by PNG companies.  If you want the list, please send an email to

Official Journal

The next official journal will be issued on 24 March 2018.  The report sets out applications that have been accepted for registration and are subject to the opposition procedure, applications that have been renewed, lapsed and those that are due for renewal.  Trade Mark Registrations can be renewed 6 months from the date of expiry of the registration. 

About this report

The Papua New Guinea Monthly IP Report is an initiative of Vai IP.  The aim of the report is to give an insight into the happenings in the industry here in PNG and provide some helpful information and tips on prosecuting IP applications.

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