As Jamaica’s athletes gear up for the 2012 Olympics, State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams is urging them to register their trademarks and seek to protect their intellectual property rights.
"On the occasion of the 2012 Olympics, we would like to implore our athletes to take the necessary steps to register their trademarks and to utilise the resources available through the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) to protect their intellectual property rights,” she said.
The Minister was making her contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate on July 18 in the House of Representatives.
She said the protection and enforcement of one’s intellectual property rights must be accorded the necessary primacy.
"This is critical to the role being played by JIPO in ensuring that our intellectual property laws and systems contribute to national economic growth and development, and that the benefits of rights holders are recognised,” she said.
In the meantime, Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams informed that JIPO, along with the Organised Crime Division (OCID) has been involved in the public destruction of thousands of pirated CDs, DVDs and counterfeit trade mark goods.
“We will continue to send a strong message to those persons involved in the criminal activity of piracy, that the Government is serious about the enforcement of intellectual property rights. This work will be intensified during the year, with JIPO and OCID embarking on an enforcement drive,” she said.
The Minister further informed that extensive work and training have been facilitated by the Government in the area of Geographical Indications (GI), in particular for local producers of Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaica rum and Jerk. A GI is a name or sign used on certain products, which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin, for example a town, region, or country.
"The opportunity now exists to register these products as GIs with JIPO, and for the producers to enjoy the competitive advantage to be gained from these niche products,” she said.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter