JIS News

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), will be hosting a public lecture and panel discussion at the Norman Manley Law School, UWI, Mona, on November 3.
The event is part of efforts to sensitise the public and local interests on geographical indications (GIs) and how Jamaica can practice and benefit from the system.
A Geographical Indication (GI) is a sign used on a product to indicate its specific geographical origin, and is a symbol of the products high quality and reputation. The quality and standard of the product is therefore attributable to its place of origin.
Dubbed, ‘The National and International Protection of Geographical Indications-Framework and Enforcement’, the lecture and discussion will focus on the relevance of GIs to the Jamaican market. It will also highlight the results and successes of the just-concluded, two-year Geographical Indications Project Jamaica-Switzerland (GIJA), which saw agricultural and non-agricultural producers receiving technical assistance on enhancing protection of the quality of Jamaican goods.
Speaking with JIS News, Local Expert on the Geographical Indications Technical Assistance Project, Sara-Ruth Allen, said that the forum is targeted at agricultural and non-agricultural producers, intellectual property (IP) practitioners and students interested in the area of IP.
“The idea behind this lecture is to get the information out there, looking at the legal implications, nationally and internationally.we need practitioners to understand the process, we need law students to be aware of the fact that there is this vibrant and growing area called IP and how it will impact the economy,” Miss Allen said.
The lecture will include a main presentation, panel discussion and a question and answer session.
Main presenter will be the Deputy Director General of the IPI, Professor Felix Addor, who will be backed by a panel consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, JIPO and the Norman Manley Law School.
Highlighting the components of the two-year project, the Local Expert pointed out that the GIJA project was a joint initiative of JIPO and IPI to promote and assist in the full establishment of a system of protection of GIs in Jamaica. She explained that Switzerland was chosen because of its historical reputation of providing strong protection for its own GIs.
Miss Allen noted too that extensive training was conducted with the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) officers, parish managers and extension officers, who are considered the primary persons to relay the information to farmers who are considered a part of the Jamaican product supply chain.
“We also sent persons for intensive training in Switzerland and France including members from the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA), Bureau of Standards, coffee and jerk sectors. So not only were the training here, but persons were also sent to see how the GIs system works in countries that use it,” Miss Allen pointed out.
Following the lecture, an official ceremony will be held at the Terra Nova Hotel on Thursday, November 4 to mark the close of the project.
“This (the ceremony) is to acknowledge the work that has gone on for the last two years, the accomplishments and to thank persons for their tireless support. We want to also appeal to the Jamaican consumers to recognise that they do have power and that their local producers of these authentic Jamaican products need their support,” she stressed.
The range of possible Jamaican GIs includes the “Blue Mountain” for coffee, “Jamaica Jerk” for jerk (seasoning), “Jamaica Rum” for rum, “Jamaica Ginger” for ginger, “Scotch Bonnet Pepper” and “Lucea” for “yam”. It could also be possible to recognise and protect GIs for non agro-food products such as Jamaican handicraft goods.