The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) has launched its cutting edge 'e-JIPO' digitisation programme for the conversion of some 30,000 files to digital format, making them available online to clients locally and overseas.
The project will be executed in four phases over a three-year period at a projected cost of $8 million.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, in endorsing the initiative at the launch on July 11 at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation's (JAMPRO) headquarters in New Kingston, congratulated JIPO for what he said was a proactive and forward-thinking move.
"This (new programme) means that if I am a Jamaican living in Timbuktu and want to start a business and need to register a trademark, I no longer have to physically come into the JIPO office, or contact JIPO to do the search on my behalf. I can do it myself from anywhere in the world," he stated.
Mr. Hylton said the initiative will undoubtedly lead to significant improvements in the way JIPO does business, and "ultimately, the perception of how Jamaica does business".
He informed that the first stage of the programme, which is the Data Verification Phase, is expected to last for 12 months. During this segment, all data from the hard copy of applications and other documents on the files and in the Trade Marks Register will be accurately digitised, verified and re-verified.
The second phase of e-JIPO will see the creation of the Launch Pad and under this phase, JIPO is expected to sign an agreement with Sun Systems, the owner of Oracle database, for them to host the external database, Mr. Hylton informed.
Also during this phase, JIPO will contract with an internet service provider for the provision of additional capacity and backup of internet connectivity, as well as develop the portal for data transfer.
The third phase of the project will be the Online Programming, Access and Testing stage, during which application interfaces will be created to allow for ease of access by the public, as a free and/or paid service.
Minister Hylton said this will pave the way for real time searches (for words and logos), trade mark applications, electronic journal access, application status reports and document requests. "This phase is expected to result in a significant increase in earnings for JIPO," he predicted.
The final phase will see the creation of synergies, Mr. Hylton said as, "for the first time since the separation of the Companies Office in 2001, JIPO and the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) will offer the public the option of searching both databases from a single portal."
According to the Minister, clients will be able to input one set of basic information online and have it propagate application forms from both companies, should they choose to apply for their business name and trademark at the same time. This will undoubtedly be tremendously beneficial to clients of both JIPO and the ORC, he said.
Under the programme, JIPO will also be moving to implement an e-payment system through the Ministry of Finance's portal.
The e-JIPO programme will provide for the establishment of a Complete Online Customer Service Centre, which will be accessible from anywhere in the world.
"This will meet the needs and interests of local and international businesses," Mr. Hylton remarked.