Wednesday, 28 August 2013

GIs, IP tools to be used to protect spices

Tourism Minister, Alexandra Otway-Noel, has disclosed her Government’s intention to use a system of Geographical Indications (GIs), together with other intellectual property (IP) tools, to protect nutmeg and other spices and such a system will also form an important pillar in its branding strategy in pursuit of branding Grenada as the “Isle of Spice”.

Delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of a one-week workshop on Geographical Indications and Branding in the context of the Implementation of the Intellectual Property
provision of the EC-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement for CARICOM, she said that the Geographical Indication can have a positive impact on tourism and on the overall branding of Grenada.

Grenada IP Registrar, Annette Henry, and Head of Marketing
at the Tourism Board, Christine Noel, among participants at the
Geographical Indications and Branding workshop.
“The nation state of Grenada has always been recognised as ‘the Isle of Spice’, but sadly no step has ever been taken to establish any legal or other framework that would protect this tagline,” she told the participants, which not only represented CARICOM members, but also the organisations associated with the training which is spearheaded by representatives from the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The Tourism Minister said that the intention is to use the Geographical Indication System to boost our agriculture and tourism, and that work has already begun on seeking to label the Grenada nutmeg as Grenada’s first Geographical Indication.

Otway-Noel said that apart from the impact on agriculture, the Government of Grenada is fully aware of the positive impact that a system of Geographical Indications can have on tourism and the branding of a region.

“We are very much aware of the positive impact that the Geographical Indication system has had on the Valais region in the Swiss Alps. We therefore look forward to the positive impact that a GI system can have on the Caribbean tourism product,” she said.

The objectives of the workshop, which concludes at the Coyaba Resort Conference room on Friday, include:

• Strengthening the capacity of CARICOM countries in identifying origin-linked quality products and carrying out inventories with a view to compile a list of prospective GI’s; and

• Providing the requisite training to participants not only on the use of GI’s for added value to nationally/locally produced products, but also that they become future resource persons for the identification of quality products linked to origin in the region to assist countries of the region in the implementation of the intellectual property (IP) provision of the EPA Agreement and provide training in branding techniques using the newly developed WIPO methodology.

Among the presenters were Mr. Malcolm Spence, Senior Co-ordinator, Intellectual Property, Science and Technology Issues, Office of Trade Negotiations, Bridgetown, Barbados; Mr. Paul Regis, Head, Caribbean Unit, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and Mr. Vincent Fautrel, Senior Program Co-ordinator from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation development program in the CARICOM region.

There were also presentations and discussions on key concepts of origin-linked products and geographical indications;  national/regional branding; contributions of trademarks and Geographic Indicators with regards to  development, use, protection, economic value of protection and enforcing and the basics of business strategy and the role of IP in marketing origin-linked products with a strong identity linked to a territory/region. (LS)

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