70 more patent examiners trained, added to pool
APPLYING for a patent in Jamaica should be quicker and easier now that the local pool of competent examiners has increased.
Over 70 patent examiners were recently trained during two one-week workshops co-ordinated by the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) with financial support from the European Union.
They are certified to assess requests for patents, which grant applicants the right to prevent other people from using, selling or making their inventions, creations, trademarks, designs or copyrights.
The trainees were presented with their certificates during a ceremony at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries last Friday.
Director general at the ministry, Vivian Brown, who gave the main address at the event, said the training aims to ensure that there are "sufficient, well-trained, standards- aware patent examination personnel" in the country.
"This will, in turn, speed up the time it takes for patents to be examined and approved," Brown said, adding that the aim is to improve the efficiency with which institutions can generate new ideas, products, services and processes and turn them into wealth.
With this training, the pool of examiners has been expanded to include persons conducting research in the sciences, such as biotechnology at the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, Jamaica; personnel from the Scientific Research Council; lawyers and law students.
Personnel from the Bureau of Standards Jamaica and government chemists, which are the country’s main patent-examining bodies, have also been trained.
Deputy director and legal counsel at JIPO, Marvin Goffe, said the workshops, which were conceptualised by JIPO, are part of a larger regional programme. Others are also being carried out in Trinidad and Tobago, and Belize.
He noted that the main aim of the workshops is to raise the level of awareness about patents as a form of Intellectual Property (IP) right that has the ability to protect inventions, to encourage innovation, and to also realise economic benefits for the science and technology sectors in Jamaica and the wider region.
"Through patents, persons are able to be incentivised to do more research in science and technology, to advance technology in certain areas and to also license technologies outside (of Jamaica) to make money for individuals and for the country at large," he pointed out.
Executive director of JIPO, Lilyclaire Bellamy, said the training workshops are important in light of work being undertaken to update Jamaica’s Patent Act. These changes will require that more examiners are available to conduct assessments for patents.
"(With) the training of these examiners, what we are doing is developing local expertise that can do our examinations for us. So when you make an application, you come up with your invention and you submit your application..., we will have a cadre of local examiners who are qualified to examine and recommend whether you should have a grant of a patent or not," she noted.
The training modules involved the areas of mechanics, chemistry, electronics and biology. The European Patent Office procedures were also examined, which served to expose persons working in different areas of technology to applying patent and IP rights to their areas of research.
The workshops were designed as a train-the-trainer programme, and an advanced workshop is scheduled for September.