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Sub-PSC and Trade Mark Task Force meeting

On 14 October, the CARIFORUM Directorate along with Intellectual Property (IP) Offices of its Member States, the European Union, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), will meet virtually to discuss present and future activities of CarIPI, a European Development Fund (EDF) initiative, which aims to promote and boost innovation and IP rights in the Caribbean region. 

Marking the second annual meeting of the CarIPI Technical Committee, EUIPO will introduce its second work plan that will run from from November 2020 to October 2021. In addition, participants will debate how to further advance on the EU-CARIFORUM partnership on IP and innovation matters. Current experience shows that IP has become critical during the ongoing health and economic crisis. Having a common understanding of IP rights, and similar approaches to acquiring and protecting these rights, proves crucial for businesses in the EU and the Caribbean.

EUIPO Deputy Executive Director, Andrea di Carlo stated: “Let’s recall that countries with a well-functioning system of IPR protection tend to attract more investment, stimulate more innovation and increase trade volumes. Ultimately, we are aiming for a business environment in which companies are more likely to prosper and create jobs and growth. That’s particularly vital for the smaller companies who, as a result of the accelerated move towards online sales during this pandemic, are increasingly reaching out to global markets. These ways of delivering added value to businesses will be echoed in the implementation of CarIPI, especially since support to SMEs is pivotal in CARIFORUM.”

CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation Unit Director Alexis Downes-Amsterdam said: “The CarIPI Project responds positively to the objectives of the Innovation and Intellectual Property chapter of the CARIFORUM-EU EPA - fostering innovation and creativity to enhance the competitiveness of CARIFORUM firms. In prioritizing this area for attention, CARIFORUM anticipates that by strengthening the enabling framework, innovation and competitiveness of the private sector will be stimulated. The COVID-19 pandemic experience underscores the importance and the value of both innovation and intellectual property.”

Team Leader for Regional Integration and Trade in the EU Delegation to Barbados the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS, and CARICOM/CARIFORUM, Felipe de la Mota noted “The benefits of a strong enabling framework that stimulates innovation and competitiveness takes even greater importance during these unprecedented times. Now more than ever, in a COVID-19 reality, it is of critical importance that firms as well as other key stakeholders understand the importance of Intellectual Property Rights in a global health and trading system.”

CarIPI second work plan will cover key IP areas such as trade marks, designs, geographical indications and plan variety rights. Here some examples:

  • Case studies and communication actions will showcase how Caribbean producers can reap more benefits from their origin-linked products. 
  • Tailor-made webinars and possibly onsite events will respond to training needs of Caribbean IP Offices, enforcement agencies, policy makers, and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
  • Caribbean IP Offices will be engaged to harmonise and publish their classification and search databases for the benefits of the users (TMclass, TMView) 
  • Caribbean states will be supported in the modernization of their legal frameworks on geographical indications, designs and trade marks, in order to make them more responsive to the fast changing business environment. 

CarIPI was launched in November 2019, and has an initial duration of four years. It deals with the innovation and intellectual property component of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed by the European Union and the CARIFORUM States in 2008. The EPA intends to increase competitiveness, economic growth and development, while supporting regional integration in the Caribbean and participation in the world trading system. The implementation of the EPA is a priority for both regions. Specifically, CarIPI aims to upgrade and harmonise the systems for IP creation, protection, administration, and enforcement in line with the EPA provisions, and to contribute to regional integration in IPR.

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