Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, has stated the government’s intent to introduce legislation that will provide greater protection to the country’s innovators and inventors.
He said that work has been underway on a new Patent and Designs Bill for some time, and the government is committed to “taking it as quickly as possible to the point where it can be taken to parliament”.
“It is a very major piece of legislation; it covers both patent and designs. Quite often, those are treated separately but the decision was taken to treat them in a single piece of legislation, which contributes to the volume of it,” Senator Golding said.
He was speaking on a motion moved by Opposition Senator, Dr. Christopher Tufton in the Upper House on Friday (March 16), urging the government to enact legislation for a new Patent and Designs Bill.
Senator Golding informed that the inputs of critical reviewers and stakeholders “have to be taken into account in drafting whatever further refinements need to be introduced in order to ensure that it is coherent and workable,” Senator Golding said.
Dr. Tufton, in his motion, argued that the existing Act, which dates back to 1857, and was adopted from the United Kingdom patent law, does not meet international standards. In addition, he said, it only speaks to local novelty, which does not allow for sufficient international protection.
“We are in breach of international obligations, having signed the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), yet not implementing the terms of the Treaty, which include among other things, amending the Patent Act,” he argued further.
Dr. Tufton noted that the role of increased intellectual property rights protection in enhancing Jamaica’s trade and economic development has been recognised and emphasised in Vision 2030, the National Aid for Trade Strategy, and other domestic policies including the National Cultural Policy.
“We have opportunities in agricultural activities and specifically the growing nutraceutical sector, as well as others. It is time to act,” he stated.
The motion was approved without amendment.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter