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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the  Ministry is moving to advance the legislative agenda to address intellectual property (IP) challenges, given that IP is an important source of competitiveness.

Mr. Hylton gave the undertaking in his 2012/13 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives, on June 20.

On the matter of patents and designs, the Minister pointed out that there are currently a number of unexamined patents, and that this problem could be addressed when Jamaica becomes a signatory to the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT).

“All signatories to the PCT are able to access the International Patent Co-operation Union.  This organisation enables one to file, search and examine all applications for the protection of inventions, and be able to access technical services of the Union, which is only available to the members,” he outlined.  The Act is, therefore, being amended to allow for this.

Mr. Hylton stressed that Jamaica is obliged to have a modern Patent legislation in place under the World Trade Organization (WTO) TRIPS Agreement, as non compliance has placed the country on the US 301 Watch List, “which means that trade sanctions can be imposed on Jamaica by the USA or any WTO member state. This legislation is now a priority for the Ministry during this legislative year."

Turning to the Copyright Act, he said this too would be amended as the legislation needs to be modernised to make it compliant with the WTO Treaties, and to incorporate provisions to provide greater protection for authors, composers and creators of literature.    

“These include Internet Treaties, which allow for the protection of works disseminated over digital networks such as the Internet.  The importance of these treaties is that they will afford another level of protection for persons involved in the Creative and Copyright industries,” the Minister noted.

He also pointed out that Copyright (Licensing Bodies) Regulations are being developed, which will facilitate regulating and Government oversight of Copyright Collective Management Societies, representing the interest of creators and publishers of musical and literary works, and producers of audio recordings. “I intend to fix these during the legislative year, because I want to make it abundantly clear …we are serious about growth and jobs in the Creative Industries,” he declared.

Additionally, the Trade Marks Act will also come up for amendment. The Minister said the Act needs to allow for amicable settlement of disagreements and potential disputes, without having to proceed to addressing the matter in an adversarial setting. 

Therefore, he said, the role of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) will be enhanced to meet the needs of stakeholders.    

 

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter