Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Not so fast! Government copyrights 'Jamaican Jerk' tag

Published:Monday | November 30, 2015 | 11:22 PM
In this April 2015 file photo jars of the locally made Pa Ben Jamican Jerk Seasoning is displayed. Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Anthony Hylton says all goods for which geographical indication protection exists would be protected against the use of phrases like 'Jamaican-style', 'Jamaican type' and 'Jamaican kind' by producers who seek to ride on the goodwill of authentic Jamaican products.

Jamaica has taken another step in protecting the country’s brand with the international copyrighting of Jamaican Jerk.

There is now a geographical indication (GI) system in place aimed at guarding against those who seek to capitalise on Brand Jamaica.

The GI system was launched last week at a Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and World Intellectual Property Organisation forum in Kingston.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Anthony Hylton, says the GI system is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

Hylton says as a result of the move, just as Mexico is known for its Tequila, and France for Champagne, Jamaican Jerk is protected internationally from misrepresentation.

He pointed out that Jamaica is the first English-speaking country in the region to register an indigenous product.

He says further steps will be taken to protect the country’s name and brands from misuse.

The industry, investment and commerce minister says the Protection of Geographical Indications Act is to be amended to provide a higher level of GI-protection to non-wines-and-spirits.

Hylton says this means that all goods for which GI protection exists would be protected against the use of phrases like 'Jamaican-style', 'Jamaican type' and 'Jamaican kind' by producers who seek to ride on the goodwill of authentic Jamaican products.

He says amendments are to be made to the Trade Marks Act to protect the country name 'Jamaica' from use by foreign businesses and trademarks that do not originate in Jamaica.

Hylton says Jamaica is also to incorporate provisions of the Madrid Protocol to allow for the registration of trademarks in multiple countries through one centralised application procedure.

He says these efforts will allow the country to better monetise its cultural and creative products.

He also stressed that Jamaica cannot be competitive if it does not protect the reputation of the island’s high quality goods and services.