State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern has called on local entrepreneurs and those in the creative industries, to ensure that their trademarks are protected across all countries with which they conduct business.
Speaking at a forum on the Madrid system for the international registration of marks, at the offices of Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in New Kingston on (March 7), Mr. Stern urged stakeholders to support the system, as it would redound to their benefit, and the protection of the Jamaican brand as a whole.
“This is a changing world; change means growth, and therefore to make Jamaica grow, we need to go out there and let more businesses be aware. We have some of the most cultural products to be protected that nobody else has,” Mr. Stern said.
He pointed out that Jamaica has lost much of its wealth in terms of culture. “Maybe three quarters of what we should be protecting is gone already,” he lamented.
“Let us understand the importance of this…We as a government are willing to make sure that you will get real and effective industrial and commercial domicile, in terms of this registration,” the State Minister told the audience.
Mr. Stern stressed that all stakeholders must get involved, pointing to the vested interest of major brand owners in particular. “Brand Jamaica is large. There is a lot of money to be made, and if we take advantage of this trademark, there is much that your children and great grandchildren will be able to achieve,” he said.
In her remarks, Executive Director of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Carol Simpson noted that the protocol is not entirely new to Jamaica, as the Office had, since 2005, been disseminating information on this international registry for marks.
She noted that the workshop, which was organised by JIPO, JAMPRO, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), was aimed at delving further into the issue.
“This is a very important piece of international instrument…it is part of a pattern of public awareness,” she added.
Meanwhile, President of JAMPRO, Sancia Bennett-Templer said with more investors coming into the country to enhance and be a part of brand Jamaica, it was important to have this discussion on trademarks.
“JAMPRO is working assiduously to ensure that our exporters can expand on the world stage, and it is very important that our exporters have that international protection. We are moving ahead on the world stage to protect some of our top brands; we have to ensure that there is this protection in place for Jamaica’s products on the international market,” she emphasised.
The forum saw participation from the business community and other stakeholders, while there will be a special session of the legal fraternity on (March 8), at the Norman Manley Law School. Next week, Miss Simpson informed, another forum will be held on Patents, and the Patents Co-operation Treaty.
The Madrid Protocol is a treaty that facilitates the international registration of trademarks, inclusive of service marks, by filing a single application in one language, thereby securing protection for one trademark in several countries.
Advantages of the protocol are that it provides for simplicity, economy and flexibility at the application stage, where persons/companies can file with the trademark office in their country, and obtain protection in several countries.
There are also post-registration benefits, where entities and persons can file a request to record changes, which may affect their registration. In the event of a renewal, this also only requires a single request with the trademark office in their own country.
This eliminates having to go through the expensive and complicated process of filing a separate application in each country where the trademark is effected. In the case of Jamaica, the office responsible for trademarks is JIPO.
CONTACT: ALPHEA SAUNDERS