Jamaica has joined the Madrid System and will become available on 27 March 2022. It becomes the 110th member of the Madrid System, which now covers 126 countries including its regional members.
The Caribbean is a region of the world where Madrid membership is quite light but Jamaica is one of the larger countries and their accession will be welcome to trade mark owners with regional interests.
They join the following territories now available in the Caribbean for International Registrations:
Antigua and Barbuda
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (which you may see referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands or the BES Islands)
Trinidad and Tobago
We can expect Jamaica to make various Declarations shortly that will apply to their membership of the Madrid Protocol. I anticipate one will be an extension to 18 months of the refusal period, but I do not expect them to impose high individual fees.
Jamaica is a Common Law country so there is always a concern when such countries accede to the Madrid Protocol that they take the domestic steps to ensure International Registrations are enforceable locally. Thankfully, the Trade Marks (Amendment) Act was enacted in 2021 giving effect to International Registrations. They will examine on substantive grounds only and not conduct examination for formalities or priority (leaving this to WIPO) so this should streamline procedures. Interestingly, the Act appears to indicate International applications designating Jamaica will be advertised once received (not necessarily after examination) so some extra diligence over watching may be required.
Overall, more good news for global brand owners, but also good news for Jamaican businesses. Jamaica punches above its size and its culture, particularly in relation to music, sport and food and has pervaded the world so this gives opportunities for Jamaican brands to be protected cost-effectively in other countries.
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