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Jamaica inches closer to joining Madrid Protocol

Jamaica moved closer to acceding to the Madrid Protocol  - an Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks on Tuesday with the passage of the necessary legislation in the House of Representatives.

The Bill, titled ‘An Act to Amend the Trademarks Act’, was passed without any amendment and had bipartisan support.

The global treaty, which is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), facilitates the process of registration by trademark owners in multiple member countries by virtue of filing a single application in any of those territories.

This process will be facilitated locally through the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).

Jamaica’s accession is being supported through proposed amendments to the Trademarks Act, the bill piloted in the House on by Tuesday Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Audley Shaw.

Mr Shaw, in closing the debate, said he will seek Cabinet’s approval for Jamaica’s accession to the Protocol and looking to expedite development of the supporting regulations, with a view to ratifying the Agreement by July.

In related interviews with the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) two business leaders voiced strong support for the initiative.

Business leaders pleased

Richard Pandohie, President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), reportedly said the Madrid Protocol’s adoption will be an “important step in Jamaica’s robust economic recovery”, while noting that it will “positively impact” multiple key sectors.

 “This will bring immediate benefits of market access, better speed to market, protection against brand abuse, and lower cost of registration, to not only companies in the manufacturing and export sectors but also to persons in the creative industries, our sportspersons, our musicians [and the] agricultural sector,” he said.

He added that Jamaica, on becoming a signatory to the Protocol, will join more than 120 other member countries that account for more than 80 per cent of global trade.   

Noting that a trademark is a key aspect of a business’ identity and a core part of connecting with clients/consumers, he said itt has the potential “to increase in value and is an intangible asset which can even be used as collateral to obtain financing”.

Lloyd Distant, President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), said the decision was “a step in the right direction,” as it will present the opportunity for Jamaican businesses, especially those in the creative industries, to get their trademarks registered and, in the process, “protect themselves” against exploitation.

Noting that the Protocol is a convenient and cost-effective way to register trademarks internationally, Mr. Distant said the facility will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises, “as previously, the cost of registration on a country by country basis was very expensive”.

 



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