Over a decade ago award-winning journalist of national repute Shirley Maynier Burke began her quest to obtain the credit owed to her as sole writer of the lyrics for the 1960s song “Hooligans” (also known as “Hooligan”), which was performed and recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers at Studio One in Jamaica. By virtue of the ruling, Burke will now receive backdated royalties from 2002.
Over the past few months the Jamaican Constabulary Force has been clamping down on everything from pirated DVDs and CDs to counterfeit cigarettes, with the result that ‘burners’ of intellectual property are getting ‘smoked’ in more ways than one. This update looks at a number of recent convictions.
Taking its commitment to protect geographical indications (GIs) to the next level, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office has officially launched its new GI project jointly with the Swiss Federal Intellectual Property Institute. Under the project, the Swiss will provide Jamaica with technical assistance in identifying products that are to be protected under an international GI regime.
Jamaica, together with the other Caribbean states that form the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, recently concluded a historic economic partnership agreement with the European Union. The agreement covers trade in goods and services, as well as trade-related issues such as innovation and intellectual property.
The issue of bad faith was at the centre of a recent ruling by the registrar of industrial property of the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office. A well-known and reputable mark was expunged from the Trademark Register after former company directors battled it out over who had the right to the mark.
The owner of the FLASH design trademark for a cleaning agent product was exposed to more than grit and grime when its trademark application was opposed by the owner of the FLASH device trademark used for a comic book hero known as Flash. In order to oppose the application, DC Comics attempted to prove the Jamaican reputation of its comic book character.
The Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency has played a leading role in the establishment of a new copyright collecting society in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. The new society will represent authors and publishers of books and other literary works, as well as owners of other types of copyright material that can be reproduced by reprographic means.
Jamaican banana farmers are to use fairtrade certification to gain and improve their competitive edge in the duty-free and quota-free market opened up to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries by the European Union. A number of Jamaican banana farmers have already taken steps to gain approval for the fairtrade certification of local bananas.
Jamaica will benefit from J$122 million-worth of agricultural inputs courtesy of the continued hurricane relief assistance supplied by the European Union under its Banana Support Programme. Further assistance will be given to help export farmers comply with European Retail Produce Good Agricultural Practices, allowing them to be assessed for fair-trade status.
As part of the government's efforts to rejuvenate local sugar factories and the sugar industry as a whole, successful bidders for sugar factories will have access to a $100 million line of credit from Brazil to facilitate the purchase of equipment and machinery in Brazil to assist with the modernization of the sugar factories.
The Jamaican legislature has passed the Electronic Transactions Act 2006, joining the growing number of Caribbean Community and Common Market countries that have implemented legislation enabling electronic transactions. The act is technology neutral and seeks to address growing security concerns, including the need for a reliable way to authenticate identity online.
A year after its first royalty distribution, the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency has distributed over J$1 million in royalties to publishers and authors. Approximately 50% of the royalties were distributed equally among 68 affiliated authors, with the other 50% shared equally between 12 publisher members.
A Jamaican corporation and a Brazilian company have joined forces in a venture that is intended to boost Jamaica's cane sugar and ethanol exports. The partnership was no doubt influenced by the tax exemption that would be derived under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act 1983 for exports of ethanol to the United States.
The year 2006 has seen a resurgence of efforts to combat IP piracy and counterfeiting. In recent months the IP Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force has carried out two major raids in Kingston, seizing over 35,000 pirated CDs and DVDs. The raids were part of the unit's anti-piracy initiative, which has led to 42 convictions in the past 18 months.
Jamaica is still reeling from the effects of the domestic cement shortage, which dealt a hard blow to the island's construction industry and economy. In its efforts to relieve the impact, the Jamaican government has implemented a one-year waiver of the import duty paid by private importers of cement.
The Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency has signed licences with the Caribbean Graduate School of Theology and the Jamaica Theological Seminary permitting the reprographic reproduction of published printed material under specified terms and conditions for the purposes of education or recreation. This marks the first set of licences to be signed by the Jamaican education sector.
Historically linked to the pirates who reigned over the high seas in centuries past, Jamaica is now under siege from a different band of pirates - those whose prime booty is reaped from the unauthorized use of intellectual property. To combat this, a number of interested organizations have banded together to form the Jamaica Anti-piracy Alliance.
On January 1 2006 the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) launched the world's newest trade bloc, the CARICOM Single Market. It is hoped that the single market will help to reverse the decline in the regional balance of power experienced by Jamaica over the past 20 years.
The World Trade Organization has essentially peeled away the protection of preferential treatment given to the African Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) by ruling against the proposed EU banana tariffs. Following a WTO ruling that the EU tariffs were illegal, the European Union has announced a new, even lower banana tariff.
The Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY), the national collecting society for the management of reprographic reproduction rights, has made its first royalty distribution to publishers and authors. JAMCOPY works to sensitize Jamaicans to the importance of copyright protection and the potential benefits of the Copyright Law to national development.