JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Michael Stern, has emphasised that Intellectual Property (IP) is an important tool in the promotion of economic development and wealth creation in Jamaica.
Speaking at the National Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of Jamaica Limited’s seminar on Intellectual Property, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on July 9, Mr. Stern pointed out that Jamaica has been at the vanguard of promoting intellectual property rights protection in the region.
“Our practical experience, particularly with respect to our music industry, the exploitation of our natural and indigenous resources, and our ability to attract and sustain foreign direct investments, dictate a national focus on IP,” Mr. Stern said.
He added that intangible assets such as knowledge, information, creativity, and inventiveness, which all speak to IP, are rapidly replacing traditional and tangible assets, such as land, labour, and capital, as the driving forces of the country’s economic growth and development.
The State Minister noted further that the establishment of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) in 2001, “reflects the desire by successive Governments of Jamaica to streamline, modernize, and provide a focal point for the administration of both Industrial Property and Copyright and related rights, in order for it to fulfill the country’s national, bilateral, and multilateral obligations in the field of IP.”
He cited a study which showed that on average, 40 per cent of the value of a company is related to IP. “It is now clear that patents, copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications and trade secrets are significant contributors to enterprise value,” he said.Mr. Stern pointed out that in Jamaica, three collecting societies for owners of copyright and related rights have been established – the Jamaica Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY), for the management of reprographic rights in printed literary material; the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers (JACAP) and the Jamaica Performers Rights Administration Society (JAPAS), for the management of the rights of performing artistes.
The State Minister informed that Jamaica is a signatory to a number of important international conventions, the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works; the Geneva and Rome Conventions for the protection of performers and producers of Phonograms and broadcasting organizations; the Paris Convention for the protection of intellectual property, and the World Trade Organization agreement and Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), “all of which make us compliant with the most significant international conventions and treaties relating to IP.”
Mr. Stern said the seminar was timely, as it brought together representatives of the key institutions and stakeholders concerned with the value and protection of creative assets, such as trademarks, innovative designs and logos. “The government of Jamaica supports efforts to create a better partnership among financial institutions, investors, and creative industry participants in seeking to harness the economic potential of creative assets in Jamaica,” he said.
“Jamaica values its relationship with the international Intellectual Property community and particularly in the World Intellectual Property Organization. We share the view that intellectual property can only thrive in a culture in which its importance is fully understood and appreciated and in which it is protected by laws that are vigorously enforced,” Mr. Stern added.
The Ex-Im Bank began in May 1968 and is an independent public sector company owned by the Government of Jamaica. Its mission is to provide competitively priced trade financing in both United States (US) and Jamaican currencies for a variety of purposes, including working capital and the purchase of raw material and serialized equipment.
The organization also aims to develop Jamaica’s productive sector and works in conjunction with many private sector trade organizations and other financial institutions to develop creative financing solutions that are relevant to the needs of Jamaican businesses.
The seminar was held under the theme: ‘Intellectual Property – Take it to the Bank’.

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