(Jamaica Observer) MUNICH, Germany — ‘Jamaica’, ‘Blue Mountain Coffee’, ‘Cannabis Sativa’ (ganja); ‘Jamaica Rum’, ‘Jamaican Patties’, ‘Boston Jerk’, ‘Jamaican Ginger’ and ‘Trelawny Yellow Yam’ are among names and brands that Jamaica is moving to protect against misuse or false use.
The island recently inked a history-making bilateral agreement with Switzerland on the protection of geographical indications at the 51st General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva.
The Jamaica Protection of Geographical Indications Act of 2004 defines “geographical indication” as a good originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
Geographical indications serve as important marketing tools in the trading of quality products on the export market, and this has spurred likeminded countries, in this case Jamaica and Switzerland, to negotiate bilateral protection agreements under the World Trade Organisa-tion Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
“These agreements mutually recognise and protect geographical indications in order to facilitate and promote trade with each other, for products and services identified with such designations,” according to the signatory documents.
“This recently signed agreement protects designations regarding products and services originating in Jamaica and Switzerland, including the name ‘Jamaica/Jamaican’ and the names of official Jamaican territories such as counties and parishes, and ‘Switzerland/Swiss’ and the names of the Swiss cantons.
This also applies to geographical indication used in translation or accompanied by such expressions as ‘kind’, ‘type’, ‘style’, ‘imitation’, ‘comparable to’ or other similar expressions,” the document said.