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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • JIPO is to announce winners of the ‘Authentic Jamaica Design Competition’ at the end of February.
  • The competition is aimed at increasing the diversity, quality and standard of products available in craft markets and designated craft areas across the island.
  • The focus on the craft sector is in support of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment’s drive to develop and use an authentic Jamaica Certification Mark.

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) is to announce winners of the ‘Authentic Jamaica Design Competition’ at the end of February, as it continues the thrust to strengthen the creative industries, particularly the craft sector.

The competition is aimed at increasing the diversity, quality and standard of products available in craft markets and designated craft areas across the island, and also to promote the importance of intellectual property protection of designs.

Speaking with JIS News, Manager of Copyright and Related Rights Directorate at JIPO, Marissa Longsworth, explained that the focus on the craft sector is in support of the Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment’s drive to develop and use an authentic Jamaica Certification Mark, as it formulates its National Craft Policy.

“This will become a standard mark for quality on craft products…so the true motive behind this competition is to begin to identify designers with innovative and very novel designs for craft, so that we can expand and stimulate the craft industry in Jamaica, so as to import less and begin to produce more,” she explained.

She further pointed out that submitted designs had to be original work not yet in production for commercial gain or the public, and of the 118 entries received, over 90 per cent was approved as original designs.

The entrants’ designs had to be from any of four categories – Souvenir (for example, key rings, paintings and beach towels); Textile (use of fabrics such as cotton, denim, leather or lace); Industrial (entries made of  materials, such as cement, metal, porcelain and recycled materials); and Natural (use of materials, including wood, straw, coconut shells or semi-precious stones).

Highlighting the judging and evaluation process, Miss Longsworth noted that since the submission deadline on October 31, 2013, JIPO has been undertaking the design registration and examination of the entries to approve or reject, based on originality.

“The Examination Committee of the Design Directorate went through each design and made their decision as to whether it should be approved as a design for registration and then once we received the list of those who were approved, we began to prepare their entries for judging and that preparation included putting them in various categories and removing all identification of the entrants, so that all of them had anonymous identification numbers to ensure that there is no bias at all with the judging process,” the Copyright Manager explained.

She added that at this point, all of the entries have been judged, the top six finalists in each category selected and have been asked to submit the actual craft item.

“In this phase two of the judging, the judges will get to see and touch the designs of the top six that they have selected and from this they will select their top three winners for each category,” she said.

Entries were judged on originality and creativity; commercialization and business appeal, and economic benefits and impact.

Persons who place first, second and third will be selected for each category with the winners for each category receiving $250,000; a loan opportunity from EXIM Bank valued at up to $2 million at a concessionary rate of 9.5 per cent per annum; intellectual property (IP) and business incubation training from JIPO and Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), respectively.

For placing second and third in the categories, persons will also receive IP and business incubation training, in addition to $150,000 for second place, and $100,000 for third.

The overall winner who ranks highest in the scores of the judges will receive the Minister’s Trophy from the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce.

Miss Longsworth said the competition opens an avenue for a more structured sector, with plans to create a registry for craft creators and designers, so that they can be properly identified. A craft catalogue will also be developed to showcase the work of these designers to locals and visitors at airports, hotels, in airplanes and on cruise ship