JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Government has embarked on creating a network of Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISCs), to strengthen its work in promoting science, technology, and innovation as key target sectors for Jamaica’s development.
  • The first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the network will assist innovators and researchers with easier access to data on patents, which are exclusive rights granted to innovators for a limited period of time, in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.
  • Describing patent databases as “valuable sources” of technical and “potentially rich” information for researchers, Mr. Hylton noted that these are not easily accessible locally by the general public.

The Government has embarked on creating a network of Technology and Innovation Support Centres (TISCs), to strengthen its work in promoting science, technology, and innovation as key target sectors for Jamaica’s development.

The first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the network will assist innovators and researchers with easier access to data on patents, which are exclusive rights granted to innovators for a limited period of time, in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.

It is anticipated that this will result in the creation of better products and, in the process, further strengthen Jamaica’s intellectual property regime, said Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, at the launch of the TISC programme in Jamaica, at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI), on October 21.

Describing patent databases as “valuable sources” of technical and “potentially rich” information for researchers, Mr. Hylton noted that these are not easily accessible locally by the general public.

Further, he said where persons are able to tap into these, they are often unable to simultaneously access both local and international databases.

“With these limitations, we risk losing opportunities to develop new inventions and create useful purposes. The establishment of this network of Technology Innovation and Support Centres will change that. Innovators and researchers will be able to use the disclosures from products and procedures to create better products, which will enhance our innovative potential to create, protect and manage our intellectual property,” the Minister pointed out.

Additionally, he said the TISCs will also provide opportunities for overseas researchers and inventors to engage and utilise the services of local persons involved in research.

“This presents a unique opportunity for outsourcing – an industry in which Jamaica has proven itself a leader,” Mr. Hylton said.

The Minister explained that the TISCs will: facilitate online access to patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) data and intellectual property publications, and on-demand searches; provide assistance in searching and retrieving technology information; offer training in database research; and provide basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialisation.

He advised that the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), an agency of the Ministry, is the designated focal point to coordinate the centres’ development and activities, adding that “we foresee that the TISCs will be located in a range of academic, industrial and business organisations.”

“These include: universities and colleges islandwide; research centres; Chambers of Commerce; and within organisations that support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs),” Mr. Hylton said, advising that “already, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, and the University of Technology (UTech) are on board.”

Both universities, along with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), have partnered with the Government, through JIPO, to launch Jamaica’s TISC network.

It is anticipated that this collaboration will serve as the catalyst to expand TISCs across the Caribbean.

Mr. Hylton advised that significant work has been undertaken by WIPO and Caribbean member states to establish a regional Caribbean Patent Administration. This, he added, has resulted in WIPO’s preparation of a draft Caribbean Patent Convention.

“I look forward to the regional meeting of Ministers with responsibility for intellectual property next month (November), here in Kingston…as innovation and patent protection will be among the important topics for discussion,” Mr. Hylton said.

Other speakers at Wednesday’s launch included:  Deputy Principal of the UWI, Mona, Professor Ishenkumba Kahwa; and Senior Director, Access to Information and Knowledge Division, Global Infrastructure Sector, WIPO, Alejandro Roca Campaña.