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JIS News

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) is currently automating its trademark registration process, in an effort to make it easier for JIPO’s staff and clients to record business trademarks.
A trademark is any sign that distinguishes the goods or services of one undertaking, such as a business entity or company, from another. The sign must be distinctive and capable of identifying certain goods or services as produced, or provided by a specific person or business entity.
Manager for Trademarks, Designs and Geographical Indication at JIPO, Edward Brightley explained that in order to register a mark as distinctively representative of a particular business, a thorough search is necessary to ensure that it is not similar or identical to a previously existing mark.
Typically, searches are done manually and according to Mr. Brightley, “this could take from 1 to 4 hours or even days”, whereas with automation, the process might be completed within 15 minutes. He said that currently, JIPO was inputting the information from the registry on to computers.
He told JIS News that it was expected that by the end of the year, or at most, the beginning of next year, JIPO’s trademark database would be “fully computerized”.
At present, persons wishing to do a search of JIPO’s database, whether manually or on the computer, must visit the JIPO’s offices to do so. However, Mr. Brightley pointed out that in the future, its clients would be able to do their searches online, “from any computer anywhere”.
In the meantime, persons are being invited to visit the office’s website and download the relevant forms for trademark application and registration, free of cost. The web address is www.jipo.gov.jm.
He added that there were plans to have the trademark journal available online as well. He explained that traditionally, after a mark has been accepted, it has to be published in the Jamaica gazette. This is done to advise the public and to allow persons to express any objections if they perceive the trademark to be similar or too close to another, or is considered immoral.
The online publication of the journal, Mr. Brightley said, would shorten the time to produce this information and would help to make Jamaica “a more attractive place to do business”.
He added that the new computerized system had enabled JIPO to generate the standard forms that are used by its customers. “Therefore, acknowledgement of receipt letters, or actual registration certificates or renewal certificates and all other standard form documents that are sent to the applicants or their agents are also generated through the trademark system,” he said.
The new trademark registration system was developed and distributed worldwide by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and would allow JIPO to be on par with a number of intellectual property offices in other countries, Mr. Brightley said.