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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Mrz 19, 2020 (Newsletter Issue 4/20)
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Modern Patents and Design Act Soon

Modern Patents and Design Act Soon
On January 23, 2020, the Jamaican Parliament passed the Patents and Designs Act (New Act). The New Act was passed by the House of Representatives on December 3, 2019 and received approval by the Senate on January 23, 2020. It will repeal the prevailing Patent Act of 1857 and the Designs Act of 1937. The New Act will come into effect by the Governor General’s Assent.

The New Act is a significant step towards a well-needed reform. From a system that has granted patents based on local novelty to one that makes universal novelty a criterion for patentability.

Industrial designs must be new and have individual character in order to obtain registered design protection under the New Act. This concept of ‘individual character’ is new to Jamaica’s design law but is a requirement under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Community and CARIFORUM states to which Jamaica is a party. Registered designs will be protected for five years with the possibility of renewal for two consecutive five year periods which accords with international norms as TRIPS requires a minimum duration of 10 years while the EPA sets a maximum of 25 years.

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