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Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has informed that amendments will be made to the Copyright Act to incorporate provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty for the protection of authors, composers and creators of literature.
These amendments will ensure Jamaica’s accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty, Mr. Stern said during his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 17.
The WIPO Copyright Treaty, adopted in 1996, provides additional protection for copyright deemed necessary in the modern information era. It ensures that computer programmes are protected as literary works, that the arrangement and selection of material in databases are protected, and provides authors of works with control over their rental and distribution.
It also prohibits circumvention of technological measures for the protection of works and unauthorized modification of rights management information contained in works.
On other matters, the State Minister informed that a Patent and Industrial Design Act would replace the Patent and Design Acts in order to fulfill the trade-related aspects of the Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement and the United States/Jamaica Bilateral Treaty on the Trademarks Act.
The TRIPS Agreement, established in 1994, specifically contains requirements that nations’ laws must meet for: copyright rights, including the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; industrial design; integrated circuit layout designs; patents; monopolies for the developers of new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or confidential information.
“We recognize that an effective patent and trademark system plays an important role in fostering the entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and commerce and we intend to modernize the legislative regime for patents and trademarks,” the State Minister told the House.
In the meantime, the Ministry is seeking to amend the Companies Act to allow for the de-registration of companies that fail to file Articles of Continuation, and to improve transitional arrangements for companies registered under the legislation.
The Companies Office of Jamaica is responsible for the registration and regulation of the companies, business name and industrial and provident societies.

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