Protection of Country Names: Pursued by Caribbean Country-Delegate
The governments of Jamaica and Barbados expressed their opposition to unauthorized use of a country name for trade purposes of someone who does not have any affiliation with the country. Such use increases the risk on the economies of developing countries, they say. This week, the two Caribbean countries referred to the World Intellectual Property Organization, making a request to render a study regarding the protection of country names. This is in context of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT).
Last January, during SCT’s last session, Barbados and Jamaica submitted a proposal comprising of a three-phase work plan. Later on, Jamaica presented supplementary documents for the purpose of facilitating the effectuation of the earlier work plan.
Just last Thursday, Barbados and Jamaica showed their strong hold on pushing their proposals to be carried out by WIPO, by submitting the revised version of the proposal for the study relative to country names protection, which contains terms of reference. This study is set to focus on the provisions in each of the national and regional intellectual property protection laws, which relates to the protection of country names, most especially in the discipline of trademark.
According to Jamaica’s delegate, the country had supplied a report consisting of case studies and evidences, making mention of the concerns and procedures taken to defend Jamaica’s brand from possible infringers. Also included in the report is a list of goods and services which absolutely have no colligation with Jamaica but is conveying the country name, and a list of registered marks in which the name of Jamaica is employed. The report also declares the actions undertaken by the national government and private entities to pave way to the establishment of a nation brand.
He also suggested assessing the effect of unauthorized usage of country names on developing countries empirically, in the purpose of showing the limitations of the IP system to address such issue. The action’s major objective is to develop joint recommendation or reference resource, which would serve as a guide for the further improvements in relation with the local and international customaries, laws and relative jurisprudence regarding protection of country names.
Various countries, regions and territories such as Argentina, Switzerland, Chile, Korea, Ghana, china and the central European and Baltic States, expressed their support to a more in-depth analysis of the SCT regarding country names. However, the European Union said that the committee should focus more on industrial designs, although the Union claimed that its member countries recognize the significance of such matter and be willing to discuss further. The EU made mention of the scope, cost and feasibility of the proposal’s work plan. But EU is in greater favor of prioritizing the field of industrial designs looking forward to conferences regarding industrial designs
EU assessed the submitted of the proposal’s revision made by Barbados and Jamaica, and according to them, some components are still elusive. EU made a suggestion of discussing the matter with the two advocators informally. Discussion was resumed the day after.By Aurobinda Panda Founder & C.E.O of Lex Protector International Law Office Ph: +91-9658577326 Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog