JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaican products and services are being repositioned to generate significant revenue earnings through the implementation of an intellectual property Geographical Indications (GI) framework.
  • The GI is an inscription used on products that have a precise geographical origin and qualities or a reputation, as a result of that place of origin.
  • It often consists of the name of the place of origin being displayed on the product.

Jamaican products and services are being repositioned to generate significant revenue earnings through the implementation of an intellectual property Geographical Indications (GI) framework.

The GI is an inscription used on products that have a precise geographical origin and qualities or a reputation, as a result of that place of origin. It often consists of the name of the place of origin being displayed on the product.

It may also serve to highlight the specific qualities of a product due to specific local geographical factors, such as climate and soil, and human factors present at the place of origin, such as certain manufacturing techniques or a traditional production method.

The framework’s implementation results from discussions and related engagements initiated since 2008, which led to a partnership being forged between the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), and Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Intellectual Property.

To date, JIPO has received one application from the Jamaica Jerk Producers Association (JJPA) for Jamaican Geographical Indication registration and designation, which the JJPA submitted in May.

Details were announced by State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, during her 2014/15 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on June 18, under the theme: ‘Facilitating the Growth of Industries’.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams noted that the Association’s application is a “big step” for GI development in Jamaica.

“We must put ourselves in a position to ride this wave by creating more IP products and services, and in building a modern, vibrant IP industry,” she said, while citing several benefits accruable with the registration of GIs.

These include: exclusive right to use the products in the course of trade; better legal protection for the registered products; contribution to local employment creation and helping to prevent rural exodus; and functioning as a product differentiator on the market by enabling consumers to distinguish between GI and non-GI products.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams indicated that other products are being explored for possible GI protection, including Blue Mountain Coffee, and Jamaica Rum.

In the same vein, she announced that the Protection of Geographical Indications Act is to be amended, to provide a higher level of protection for non-wines and spirits, such as rum.

“We hope that the GI application made by the Jamaica Jerk Producers Association will be the first of many more applications for GI designation. I would like to encourage other commodity producers’ associations to register their GIs – rum, coffee, pimento, hemp, to name a few,” she said.

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