In a discussion with MOFSTII’s Trade & Industry Unit, representatives for the CarIPI and EUIPO expressed positive sentiments regarding the government’s plan to upgrade the Intellectual Property Office through the recently announced Invest Bahamas initiative.
Invest Bahamas, which will become the new National Investment Agency and create a new Investment Framework, will involve a number of changes to the existing Intellectual Property (IP) Framework. The reforms will reflect those outlined in the Economic Recovery Committee’s (ERC) Executive Summary Report and may include the creation of online processes for applying for IP protections like patents and trademarks, the creation of online search portals, the creation of an independently governed IP Office, and the signing of new treaties.
European Union Intellectual Property Office IPR Cooperation Specialist, Alexandra Mayr, felt that the proposed plans could positively impact The Bahamas when implemented.
“It’s very good to hear that The Bahamas is aiming to streamline and digitalize the application and search processes. EUIPO has been selected for three years in a row the most innovative IP office in the world and we are aiming to share our expertise with other IP offices around the world. There are a number of IP systems such as WIPO’s IPAS that can be used internally as a back-office system, and which can then connect easily to other front-office tools such as international search portals like TMview and DesignView and e-filing solutions like those used by EUIPO or WIPO.”
Alexandra also applauded the government’s intention to explore the signing of additional IPR treaties, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty. She expressed hope that other treaties would also be explored.
“This is good news. Maybe other IPR treaties could also be interesting. Specifically, the Madrid Protocol for the international protection of trademarks and the Hague System for the protection of Industrial Designs.”
Echoing these sentiments was CARIFORUM Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights project (CarIPI) Expert and Activity Coordinator, Dr. Wendy Hollingsworth, who emphasized CarIPI’s willingness to partner with member countries in improving IP offices around the region.
“Congratulations to all of these efforts. CARIPI as a project stands ready to support any of these initiatives by freely sharing software that is being used internationally, as well as our expertise and experiences in drafting state-of-the art laws, and creating efficient IP offices.”
Dr. Hollingsworth believes that the proposed changes would ultimately benefit the country by better protecting local businesses, as well as giving assurances to international investors that the Bahamas is a nation that respects Intellectual Property. She welcomes the Bahamian government to approach CarIPI with any ideas it may have about IP related events that may be needed within the region.
“Generally, we normally encourage member states to approach us with any ideas they have in terms of an event or activity based on IP and we will see how we can incorporate it in our work plan. For example, if The Bahamas wanted to have a webinar or workshop on designs, we could collaborate to set this up so that the digital event can be made available to all member states, including The Bahamas.”