Barbados is well-established in the international framework of intellectual property rights protection, thanks largely to the work of the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO).

This was intimated recently by Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, at the opening of a two-day workshop on Brand Protection and Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement conducted by CAIPO at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael.

Acknowledging that the island had been a member of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) since 1979, Minister Inniss said it was also a signatory to all key international agreements which are administered by WIPO, and which serve to shape the intellectual property regime here.

He added: “Furthermore, by virtue of its membership in the World Trade Organisation, which took effect at January 1st, 1995, Barbados is a Party to the Agreement in Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).  This Agreement is renowned for its global impact as for the very first time it introduced intellectual property law into the international trading system. ”

The International Business Minister noted that CAIPO was responsible for the administration of the legislation which governs this country’s intellectual property system, and as a result of a dedicated programme of legislative reform, Barbados had the benefit of a modern intellectual property framework, which meets the TRIPS standard of compliance.

Mr. Inniss stressed this was reflected in our laws which provided protection in the core areas of intellectual property, namely, copyright, patents, industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications, integrated circuits, protection of new plant varieties together with protection against unfair competition.

Highlighting the department’s efforts, he added: “With the average filings of some 1,300 trademark applications for registration, trademarks represent a significant component of CAIPO’s Intellectual Property portfolio. And, I am told that there are 25,000 active trademarks in the CAIPO’s office now which is indeed a very significant amount, but there is obviously room for growth.”

Participants at the workshop, including law enforcement and regulatory personnel, also heard that the majority of these trademark applications were from foreign sources, namely, individuals and multinational companies, who boast global brands.

“These global brands, many of them well-known household names, whether it is in the area of food, pharmaceuticals, clothing, automobiles or electronics, easily find a place in our domestic market given the openness of the Barbados economy and the fact that we are heavily import oriented,” Mr. Inniss explained.