JIPO Continues to Champion Brand Jamaica

Executive Director of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Carol Simpson, says the office continues to champion Brand Jamaica and protect the island’s unique products.

She said that focus is being placed on the cultural industry. “We’ve been looking at traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, genetic resources, working with our young people (particularly from) Rastafarian and Maroon communities,” she said.

The JIPO head, who was speaking at the launch of Intellectual Property (IP) Week 2012 on April 23 at JIPO’s New Kingston offices, said that agency is also looking “outside of the box” and is examining the critical issue of IP and sports as the Olympic Games approach.

She said that JIPO is faced with the challenge of protecting authentic Jamaican products overseas and the exploitation of country’s name. She noted, for example, that ice cream, jerk-style sauces and energy drinks are being erroneously marketed overseas as originating from Jamaica.

State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, in her remarks, lauded JIPO for its work in protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), which, she noted, is critical to the development and sustainability of the economy.

Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams said she welcomed the opportunity that the week presents for heightening public awareness on the importance and economic value of IPRs, the needs of the protection of these rights, and the jobs that they can create.

“By opening the minds of our people to the limitless potential which IPRs possesses, JIPO, through its daily operations, and annual celebration of intellectual property week, provides this nation with an invaluable service,” she said.

IP Week is being observed from April 22 to 29, under the theme: ‘Nation Building through Creativity and Innovation: Maximizing our IP Potential’.

Yesterday’s launch, which also fell on World Copyright Day, was followed by an Open Day at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO’s) secondary parking lot in New Kingston. The event showcased innovative and creative Jamaican foods courtesy of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Food Incubator and booths set up by small and large trade owners.

Other highlights of the week include a seminar on the topic: ‘Information and Intellectual Property’, on World Intellectual Property Day (April 26), which will be held at the JAMPRO board room, starting at 9:00 a.m. The session will be hosted in partnership with law firm, Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon and Co.

The activities will then move to Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, St. James the following day (April 27) for an event dubbed: ‘JIPO in Montego Bay for a Day’, which will feature cultural performances from the Rastafarian and Maroon communities.

There will also be discussions on traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. JIPO staff will be on hand to answer IP queries and accept trademark registrations.

IP refers to original creations of the mind such as poetry, choreography, jewellery designs, business signs, and inventions. These original expressions are recognised as items of value and worthy of protection through IPRs.

IP Week is an extension of the annual observance of World Intellectual Property Day by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), celebrating innovation and creativity and how intellectual property fosters and encourages them.

JIPO is an agency under the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, which has the mission to establish and administer a modern and effective intellectual property system which will be a catalyst for international competitiveness, facilitating economic growth and national development.


By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter

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