Madame Speaker, I give my full support to Jamaica becoming a member of the Madrid Protocol and to the proposals in the Trade Marks Amendment Act, 2021 which are before us today.
The proposed amendments to the Trade Marks Act, not only enable Jamaica to accede and acknowledge accession to the Madrid Protocol in law, but we are also modernising the Trade Marks Act and Trade Mark Rules. These actions, together, constitute a major game changer for Jamaican entrepreneurs, including members of the creative sectors whose global pursuits will be made easier by these necessary changes.
The Madrid Protocol for the international registration of marks is a treaty
administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual
Property Organisation which is the UN agency responsible for promoting the protection of Intellectual Property throughout the world. The Madrid Protocol has been ratified by most European countries, the USA, Japan, Australia, China and many other countries around the world.
The Madrid Protocol is a one-stop solution to register and manage trade
marks worldwide. The protocol will enable Jamaican trade mark owners to protect their trade marks in more than 120 territories (and counting) through a single application filed with JIPO. And this is one of the main benefits of the Protocol — a trade mark owner is required to file one application, in one language and pay one set of fees for an international registration effective in the countries selected by the trade mark owner. Previously, Madam Speaker, a trade mark holder, let’s say in the music business, would have to file separate applications in each country, paying the requisite legal and other fees, including for translation services where necessary.
Madam Speaker, I cannot overstate how important these amendments to the Trade Marks Act will be to Jamaica’s creative practitioners and their ability to earn from their creations. It will save our creatives time and money while improving protection on their intellectual property.
With these amendments, we are enabling our creatives to take action to protect their works.
I therefore encourage all our creatives to protect as many elements of their works as possible. So for instance, I would advise people in the music recording business to protect their album record sleeves, or the artiste’s recording name by a trademark; because the more elements of a creation that are protected by a trademark, the easier it will be to take action when your work has been pirated.
Madam Speaker, I also want to refer to another of the provisions of the Trade Marks Amendment Act, 2021 which has to do with the protection of and use of Jamaican national emblems. This has been a great source of concern to many Jamaicans across the world.
I fully endorse the amendments to Section 12 that put appropriate restrictions on the use of our Coat of Arms, the Jamaican Flag or any other national emblem or symbol in a trade mark, unless the Registrar is satisfied that consent has been given by or on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.
The amended Section 12 also has a provision to limit the use of the name “Jamaica”; the map of Jamaica; the national colours and emblems of Jamaica. Under the new provisions, the Registrar may impose a condition or limitation on the trade mark… to the effect that goods or services for which the trademark is registered shall originate in Jamaica. This provision is intended to deal with the problem where many so called “Jamaican products” available across the world have no relationship with our island home.
In short, Madam Speaker, this is good policy and good legislation which will benefit the people of Jamaica and I give it my full support