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With the onset of the digital age and the ability for information, material and products to cross boundaries at the speed of light, increasing the difficulty to misuse  brands within the global marketplace, through Intellectual Property (IP) rights, remains critical.

This was stated by Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Julian Robinson, at a workshop examining the issue of IP in the digital age, at the offices of  Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), in Kingston, on April 26.

The workshop was staged by  Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), in collaboration with the law firm, Nunes Scholefield DeLeon and Company.

The State Minister  said it is difficult to totally police the digital divide, so it becomes important for every Jamaican creator or inventor to be vigilant in ensuring that patenting, trade marking and copyrighting are an automatic follow-up to any innovation.

“Intellectual Property is now recognised as one of the most valuable assets in business transactions, whether in manufacturing, mergers or acquisitions, licensing, and agreements,  because of the royalties and other benefits that come with protecting the ideas,”  he explained.

The digital age, Minister Robinson pointed out,  has made it easier for access to property that can then be passed off as original by another party.  “What is important to us is that the laws are in place to deal with the breaches where they may occur and to prosecute where necessary. As we strive towards greater levels of economic growth and development, we recognise that the proper protection, administration and enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) play a vital role,” he said.                              

He drew attention to a case where an English firm was fined  £80,000 (J$11.3 million) for making a hot pepper sauce and falsely selling it as a Jamaican branded product after the company had lost the importation rights.

The workshop was one of the activities held to mark Intellectual Property Week (April 22 – 29) under the theme: ‘Nation Building through Creativity and Innovation’.

 

By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO