Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government is in the process of developing new legislation to safeguard the rights of plant breeders as a new area of intellectual property (IP) protection in Jamaica.
The move, he said, will encourage innovation in the breeding of new plant varieties and facilitate the registration process, while providing protection for plant breeders and farmers. He noted that the legislation will also prove useful in the development of the local cannabis industry.
The Minister, who was speaking at the launch of a line of locally manufactured herbal teas at the Eden Gardens Spa and Wellness Centre in Kingston on December 9, noted that the Government has undertaken several activities aimed at facilitating the development of the nutraceutical industry and improve IP protection.
“Intellectual property is a key area of focus in facilitating the development of the nutraceutical industry in Jamaica. Both our products and our traditional processes are in demand globally and we cannot allow ourselves to stand by while others outside of (the country) benefit financially from Jamaica’s world class products and services,” he said.
He informed that the Ministry is far advanced in the development of the Patent and Designs Act, which seeks to reform the law relating to patents and designs that has been in place since 1857.
The law will provide greater protection for Jamaican innovators and manufacturers in the local and international environments.
The Minister further cited measures to register several local products under the Geographical Indication (GI) Act, which was passed in 2004.
Geographical Indication is the sign or name used on certain products to identify the geographical origin and possesses certain characteristics or reputation linked to the country of origin.
Among the products to be registered are: Jamaican ginger, logwood honey, ganja for medicinal purposes and other natural products from the nutraceutical industry. The registration of Jamaica jerk was completed earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Minister informed that the draft National Quality Policy has been completed.
The policy aims to promote competitiveness of local products by ensuring that these conform to international standards. It will create a favourable environment for local producers to export their products.
“The policy will have an impact in the way we do business in this country as our industries need to become standards-led and market driven,” Minister Hylton said.
The Eden Gardens Nutraceuticals Wellness Teas, developed by E.G Wellness Brands Limited, are made from natural Jamaican herbs that are widely used to address conditions such as chronic inflammation, hypertension, cancer and diabetes.
The teas are: Jamaican Guinea Jen Weed; Guinea Hen Weed and Ball Moss; Sour Sop and Ginger; Cerasee and Ginger; Ginger Hen Weed and Cinnamon; Bissy; Moringa and Cinnamon; and Lemon Grass and Ball Moss.
GK Foods and Services Limited is the distributor of the teas through its World Brands Services Division.