JIS News

A World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) study has found that Jamaica’s copyright-based industries contribute 5.1 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is equal to that of traditional sectors such as mining and agriculture.
Information, Youth, Culture, and Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, speaking at a recent conference on ‘Intellectual Property and the Creative Industries’ held at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, said that the results of the study show the potency of creative industries as a critical and necessary tool for economic development, and the government will be placing increased focus on the sector. “The commitment of the new government of Jamaica is to build our economy by placing policy and planning focus on the creation of a supportive environment for the creative industries. It is therefore now a priority subject of our country’s trade and investment agenda,” she stated.
As part of the move, she said, the Government will be improving the national framework for geographical indicators (GI) legislation. “We have already prepared some draft Geographical Indicators Regulations and will complete these over the next 12 months under the auspices of our partnership with the Swiss Intellectual Property Institute,” the Minister informed.
A GI is a type of intellectual property associated with goods that originate in a specific place and possess qualities, a reputation, or other characteristics that are due to that place of origin.
Miss Grange noted that Jamaica has a competitive advantage in respect of certain non-traditional agricultural produce such as “our condiments, jerk seasoning, spices as well as our Blue Mountain and Wallenford brands of coffee and Jamaica rum, respectively. These products however, are being rampantly passed off by foreign companies, with false labelling and points of origin. This is a matter of great concern for us, and we do intend to vigorously address this situation in the World Trade Organisation.”
She indicated further that Jamaican Patents and Designs Act is being overhauled, and the Ministry is encouraging local researchers, innovators and inventors to register their works.
The Minister further informed the meeting that the trade, investment and culture/heritage preservation agencies are working with the indigenous communities of the Maroon and Rastafarian councils to strengthen their capacities to develop intellectual property tools and arrangements to stem the bastardization of their culture and proprietary interests.
“I am just arriving from Paris where UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) has showed continued interest in the Jamaican Maroon culture and traditions as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This is indeed a great acknowledgement that further validates the strength of Jamaican culture in the history and development of the world,” she stated.
According to the Minister, “Jamaica’s creative industries will not only have the benefit of the fuel of a strong legislative framework supportive of the protection of the rights of creators and owners of intellectual property, but also a well oiled monitoring and implementing mechanism, aided by organisations such as the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP), along with the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY).”