JIS News

Several products made in the United States, Costa Rica and Guatemala, are turning up on supermarket shelves here, with brand Jamaica prominently displayed on their labels.
The discovery was made even as the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), seeks certification and registration for three of the country’s most authentic products – Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaican Rum, and Jerk Seasoning.
The foreign made products were discovered by the Competitiveness Company, a subsidiary of the Jamaica Exporters Association (JEA). They include:Krinkle cut chips labelled ‘Island Jerk’ and ‘Jammin Jamaican spice’, A1 Mandarine Sauce labelled ‘Jamaican Jerk’, Blue Sky natural soda labelled ‘Jamaican Origin’, AIRS Aroma Wands labelled ‘Jamaica’, Natural Wadde Jamaican Jerk, and Jamaican Choice Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce.
The discovery was brought to the attention of a meeting of the GI Working Group, on Thursday (Sept. 18), at the PCJ Building in Kingston. The meeting was sponsored by JIPO and the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), which has been assisting JIPO with the full establishment of GIs in Jamaica, under the Geographical Indications Project, a two-year project launched in May this year.
Certification and registration are being sought under the Geographical Indications (GIs) Protection System, to help brand the products for enhanced global marketing, and to help Jamaica fight counterfeiting of its GIs.
“A Geographical Indication (GI ) is a specific category of intellectual property rights and they (GIs) are designations which identify a good or a service, as originating in a specific territory where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics is essentially attributable to its (product) geographical origin,” explained Sara-Ruth Allen, the local expert coordinating the initiative on behalf of JIPO explained.
She noted further, that “many developing and industrial countries acknowledge the utility of GIs as a tool that contributes to the promotion of economic and cultural value of the product.”
The meeting was held to review the findings from three previous workshops, held this week, with producers and processors of coffee, rum and jerk seasoning, to develop production standards and code of practice, which are required for certification and registration as GI products.
“Jamaica acknowledges the importance of having an effective protection system for the Geographical Indications at the national level, hence the Geographical Indications Act of 2004,” Mrs. Allen stated.
She added that part of the project would see the completion of the Act, by the drafting and passage of the regulations. “So the Jamaican Government is preparing to implement the GIs protection in its legal system, to be able to take measures against the illegitimate use of Jamaican GIs by anybody,” she assured.
Mrs. Allen cited legal support, implementation of the effective sustainable GI protection, and a country’s ability to effectively fight counterfeiting of its GIs, as the main benefits and opportunities of regulations supporting Jamaican GIs.