Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has pledged to do "all that is necessary" to ensure the completion of the final phase of the long-awaited Patent and Design Act, in the shortest possible timeframe.
He said passage of the legislation is essential in satisfying international obligations, and the country could face trade sanctions for failure to implement the Act.
He was speaking on Thursday (July 12) at the launch of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office’s, 'e-JIPO' digitisation programme, held at the Jamaica Promotions Corporation’s (JAMPRO) headquarters in New Kingston.
Mr. Hylton informed that the delay in completing and passing the Act has created difficulties and is a disadvantage to Jamaican inventors and innovators because of the backlog of unexamined patents. “This delay also means that Jamaica is unable to participate in an international system for the protection of patents and become a signatory to the Patent Cooperation Treaty,” he advised.
The Minister noted that all signatories to the treaty are able to access the International Patent Cooperation Union, which gives them the ability to file, search and examine all applications for the protection of inventions.
He said the absence of a revised legislation means that Jamaica has not satisfied its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) – Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, and has been placed on the United States (US)-301 Watch List.
"As a result, trade sanctions may be imposed on Jamaica by the US or any WTO member state for failure to have modern patent legislation,” he informed.
A patent is a grant by the state, to an inventor, of a monopoly in the use of an invention, thereby excluding others from making, using or selling the invention within the country of grant for a specified period of time without the authorisation of the inventor. The inventor must in turn, fully describe the invention.
The disclosure of the invention allows others to work the invention at the end of the protection period and also assists in the spreading of technological information.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter