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The Trade Marks Amendment Act of 2021 (TMA 2021) is a major development in Jamaica’s trade mark law. Jamaican company brands, logos, as well as Brand Jamaica are now able to obtain global protection.
Under Section 69 of the Trade Marks Act, it is a criminal offence to use a sign or logo similar or identical to a registered trade mark. Prior to the passage of the TMA 2021, this provision was only enforceable in Jamaica. Therefore, in order to receive legal protection for a company trade mark beyond the shores of Jamaica, local companies had to register a trade mark in the country where protection was being sought. Now, with the TMA 2021 being passed, it will be easier for trade mark breaches of Jamaican logos and company marks to be prosecuted internationally.
GREATER GLOBAL PROTECTION
The TMA 2021 represents Jamaica’s accession to the Madrid Protocol (MP), which provides a system for the implementation of an international trade mark registration system. Over 120 countries are signatories to the MP. The MP represents a demise in artificial borders as it relates to trademark registration, as there is now one trade mark register where every registered trade mark will receive equal protection, regardless of the country of origin.
Arguably, the accession of Jamaica to the MP will complement the Mutual Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act (MACMA), specifically in areas regarding trade mark protection. MACMA is the legislation that governs the international cooperation between Jamaica and other member states in matters concerning cross-border criminal investigations and prosecution. Under MACMA, signatory member states can request information from Jamaica, and vice versa, if the information forms part of a criminal investigation. Possibly, the current provisions of MACMA could be reviewed in light of the passage of the TMA 2021, with a view of amending its provisions to specifically provide for international cooperation on legal matters concerning trade mark breaches and the unlawful use of Jamaican national emblems and symbols.
PROTECTION OF BRAND JAMAICA
Under the TMA 2021, the Jamaican Flag, the Coat of Arms, and Jamaican national emblems are protected and cannot be incorporated within a logo unless permission from the Jamaican Government is given. Correspondingly, an application to register a trade mark with the word ‘Jamaica’ can be refused where the goods and services associated with the company mark or logo does not originate from Jamaica. The same principle applies to other countries.
Source: Jamaica Gleaner
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The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is described as Jamaica's "Business Ministry." It's mandate is to lead the development of policies that will create growth and jobs, while achieving social inclusion and consumer protection. The Ministry, working its stakeholders is primarily responsible for business policy development, monitoring and evaluation, while giving direction and oversight to a cluster of implementing departments and agencies.
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