Getting Down with Intellectual Property (IP) Protection – Part 1:  Geographical Indicators

Author: Lisa Douglas-Paul

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP) can be a powerful tool that can help you protect and even power your business. But getting the right protection is just as important as getting protected in the first place. Depending on where you are on your business growth path, registering your product’s IP too soon can buss yuh pocket, and if yuh move too late then somebody done gone down d road with it! 🏃‍♂️

For mature businesses trying to burst into larger export markets, Geographical Indicators (GIs) are a must-have. Why? Because bigger seas 🌊 have more sharks. 🦈 In the global market, this intellectual property tool gives you that extra layer of protection against overseas competitors and increases your leverage with potential partners.

In the last article, we talked about why Intellectual Property (IP) Protection is so important. For the next few, with a little help from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) we’re going to dig a bit deeper into what each IP tool does and how Caribbean businesses have used them to strengthen their product or service.

Geographical Indicators
According to WIPO, Geographical Indicators (GIs) are a form of IP given to products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, reputation, or characteristics that are essentially attributable to that place of origin.  GIs mainly serve the purpose of protecting a product through a “Destination of Origin” tag which, in most cases, can help it attract a premium price of as much as 40% higher than that of a similar product without a GI classification.

When it comes to GIs, Jamaicans don’t make smoke. Three of Jamaica’s world-famous GIs include Jamaica Jerk, Jamaica Rum and Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee ☕ and if you try to come ‘round any of these in the GI trifecta, be prepared or pay 5 million Jamaican Dollars (USD $32K) or serve 3 years imprisonment. 🥵 

GI’s are an awesome way to protect big business on a global scale, but it only gets better.  Next, we gonna buss d mark on how Trade Secrets have helped our local businesses 🌴 achieve global success. 🌎

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