An agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce, the JBDC is Jamaica’s premier business development organisation working collaboratively with government, private sector, as well as, academic, research and international communities.



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SMEs Set to Benefit from Intense Intellectual Property Training

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Miss Valerie Veira is urging entrepreneurs within the SME sector to leverage Jamaica’s rich cultural history by producing products synonymous with Brand Jamaica and by extension applying the necessary intellectual property rights protection through geographical indications. This, ahead of the staging of the National Workshop on Effective Management of Intellectual Property Assets for SMEs scheduled for June 13 – 15, 2017 in Kingston. The Workshop is being staged in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Organization (JIPO).

“Jamaicans are a dynamic, creative and talented people with a unique charm and spirit. Our rich culture is a major selling point for tourism and is often what sets us apart from the ordinary island with just sun, sand and sea. As we are also an entrepreneurial people, over the years we have found ways to make aspects of our culture a business, commanding international acclaim on the way to stardom. We need to look no further than cultural icons like the famed Bob Marley and Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverly who paved the way for a cadre of talented Jamaicans in the performing arts. Ahead of their time, their legacy lives on through generations and borders,” she said.

Continuing, she added that although Brand Jamaica has reached far and wide, there is much more we can to do to squeeze all the juice from this powerful brand to a point where it’s leveraged for economic growth. “And in doing so, it is critical that we ensure that our Intellectual Property Rights are protected. The matter of geographical indication is an essential aspect of the discourse as we take steps in this direction. A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. Brands such as Blue Mountain Coffee, Portland Jerk, among others, are pieces of Jamaica that ought to be owned by Jamaicans. They’re not only good products, but they tell stories about our history.”

According to JIPO, geographical indications may be used for a wide variety of products, whether natural, agricultural or manufactured. Examples of international GIs are “Champagne”, “Tequila” and “Darjeeling Tea”. Examples of registered Jamaican GIs are “Jamaica Jerk” and “Jamaica Rum”. The main feature of these product names are their reference to a particular geographical origin. When we hear these names, we definitely think of special products which are in our perception deeply rooted in the places they designate.

GIs help consumers around the world to identify the origin, quality and reputation of products. If these products are not adequately protected they can be misrepresented by dishonest merchants. Such commercial operators deceive consumers and lead them into believing that they are buying a genuine product with specific qualities and characteristics from a particular geographical region, when they are in fact, getting an imitation.
As a result two things may happen:

  1. the producers/ merchants who are holders of the GIs may lose business and suffer financially
  2. the reputation of the product may be damaged.

Miss Veira added that there is immense potential globally for MSMEs who use geographical indication as a marketing tool, particularly those in the creative industries, as they seek to launch or grow their businesses. “No longer should culinary artists, dancers, musicians, actors, poets, artists, designers, writers, etc. view their craft/talent as a hobby, but rather a sustainable business. This three-day workshop on the ‘Effective Management of IP Assets for SMEs has been strategically planned for this purpose,” she explained.

The Workshop will feature presentations from a host of international and local speakers including: Keynote Speaker, Professor James Conley – Clinical Professor – Center for Research in Technology & Innovation, Managerial Economics and Decision Science Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, as well as other international speakers including Dr. Kiran Akal – CEO, SMAKS Luxury Group Limited, Port of Spain and Mr. Anil Sinha – Counsellor, SMEs and Entrepreneurship Division, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva.

Local speakers include: Mrs. M. Georgia Gibson Henlin, QCAttorney-at-Law and Partner Henlin Gibson Henlin, Kingston, Dr. William Lawrence, Board Director – JBDC & Director – Professional Services Unit, Mona School of Business & Management, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Ms. Dianne Daley McClure, Founding Partner – Foga Daley, Kingston, Ms. Nicole Foga, Managing Partner – Foga Daley, Kingston, Ms. Natalie Corthésy, Head, IP Law Stream, Faculty of Law, University of West Indies, Kingston, Mr. Jason Wongsam, Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO), Kingston and Mrs. Janine Taylor, Manager, Marketing Services, Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Kingston.

Topics to be covered range from Industrial Designs through Patents and Utility Models and Copyright to IP in the Digital Economy, Trade Secrets, Collective Marketing with Geographical Indications, and IP Audits and Due Diligence. Keynote International Speakers, Professor James Gerard Conley and Dr. Kiran Akal will address a range of topics including How to Leverage Technical Innovation in the Marketplace, Commercializing Research and the Management of Intellectual Property in a Global Business Environment. Case studies will examine the Effective Use of IP Assets by SMEs in the development of their Business Strategies and avenues which enterprises may pursue to legally utilise Music and Photographic Images in their Advertising Materials in order to avoid IP infringement.

The tools provided in this workshop will support participants in grasping the complex topic of Intellectual Property, equipping them with the latest methods and developments in IP management and the advantages to be derived by their businesses. The programme will allow for exchange with the presenters as well as excellent networking opportunities between participating entrepreneurs.

The Workshop takes place at the JBDC’s Incubator and Resource Centre located at 76, Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm daily. Participants are required to pre-register by visiting the JBDC’s website at

Contact: Corporate Communications Unit
Tel: 928-5161-5, exts 244, 274 or 277, SL: 930-8531
Fax: 938-2438


Corporate Communications