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State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, says the Government remains committed to protecting the interests of the country’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) holders.

“We continue, through the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), to provide Jamaican creators, investors and commercial enterprises as well as foreign rights holders, with modern and comprehensive procedures and facilities for the protection of their intellectual property rights,” she said.

The State Minister was speaking at the launch of Intellectual Property (IP) Week, 2012, at the New Kingston offices of JIPO, on April 23.

Intellectual Property refers to original creations of the mind, such as poetry, choreography, jewellery designs, business signs, and inventions. These original expressions are recognised as items of value and worthy of protection through Intellectual Property Rights.

The State Minister said that the administration would also continue to encourage persons who have not yet done so, to secure their innovations and creations through the Intellectual Property Rights system.

“We must continue to create a framework that encourages new ideas and protects the rights of all Jamaicans whose research and artistic creativity can contribute significantly to the growth and development of our economy,” she said, adding that the varied types of IP remain some of the most efficient and potentially productive forms of property that can be bought, sold, rented or leased for economic gain.

Citing 2008 statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO, the State Minister argued that the potential of copyright industries cannot be underestimated, both in terms of stimulating investments, and in creating jobs, noting that it was found that the copyright sector alone contributed $29 billion or 4.8 per cent of Jamaica’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005, employing some 32,000 persons.

She said it is also clear that the IP system has now become more central to the strategies of innovating firms and forward-thinking governments, noting for example, the 2011 World Intellectual Property Report which showed that demand for patents has risen from 800,000 applications worldwide in the early 1980s to 1.8 million in 2009.

“The demand for other IP rights which firms often use as a complement to patents, has also seen marked growth. Worldwide trademark applications increased from one million per year in the mid 1980s to 3.3 million in 2009,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams noted that the Government is signatory to some of the major international intellectual property agreements and treaties, “and shall continue to ensure effective legal protection for the intellectual property rights of Jamaicans locally and internationally.”

Intellectual Property Week is being observed from April 22to 29, under the theme: ‘Nation Building through Creativity and Innovation: Maximising our IP Potential’.

IP Week is an extension of World Intellectual Property Day observed by JIPO’s international partners – WIPO – celebrating innovation and creativity and how intellectual property fosters and encourages them.

JIPO is an agency under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, with the mission to establish and administer a modern and effective intellectual property system which will be a catalyst for international competitiveness, facilitating economic growth and national development.

 

By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter