The Government is providing greater safeguards for brand Jamaica on the international marketplace through passage of amendments to the Trade Marks Act in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 1).
Amendments to Section 12 of the Act places appropriate restrictions on the use of the country’s Coat of Arms, the Jamaican Flag or any other national emblem or symbol in a trademark, unless the Registrar (at the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office) is satisfied that consent has been given by or on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.
The amended Section 12 also has a provision to limit the use of the name ‘Jamaica’, the map of Jamaica, the national colours and emblems of Jamaica.
“Under the new provisions, the Registrar may impose a condition or limitation on the trademark… to the effect that goods or services for which the trademark is registered shall originate in Jamaica,” said Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange.
“This provision is intended to deal with the problem where many so-called ‘Jamaican products’ available across the world have no relationship with our island home,” she added.
She was contributing to the debate on the amendments.
A key aspect of the legislative measure is that it will support Jamaica’s accession to the Madrid Protocol, which will allow interested parties to protect their trademarks in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single registration in participating countries.
“We are also modernising the Trade Marks Act and Trade Mark Rules,” Minister Grange noted.
“These actions, together, constitute a major game changer for Jamaican entrepreneurs, including members of the creative sectors whose global pursuits will be made easier by these necessary changes,” she added.
The Madrid Protocol for the international registration of marks is a treaty administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which is the United Nations (UN) agency responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property (IP) throughout the world.
It has been ratified by most European countries, the United States of America (USA), Japan, Australia, China and many other nations around the world.
The Protocol is a one-stop solution to register and manage trademarks worldwide.
“The Protocol will enable Jamaican trademark owners to protect their trademarks in more than 120 territories and counting, through a single application filed with JIPO,” Ms. Grange said.
“And this is one of the main benefits of the Protocol – a trademark owner is required to file one application, in one language and pay one set of fees for an international registration effective in the countries selected by the trademark owner. Previously, a trademark holder, let’s say in the music business, would have to file separate applications in each country, paying the requisite legal and other fees, including for translation services where necessary,” she pointed out.
Ms. Grange noted that the amendments to the Act will save creatives time and money, while improving IP protection.
“With these amendments, we are enabling our creatives to take action to protect their works,” she stressed.
In closing the debate, Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, said the Government is committed to creating an environment that facilitates the ease of doing business in Jamaica and providing greater employment opportunities where possible.