Monday 6 April, 2020

MEDS: Using intellectual property to protect Jamaican ganja

With Itopia Life

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to a set of laws meant to protect original creations.

IP is important as it allows for equitable remuneration for the creator of the work and promotes a fair marketplace.

The Jamaica Intellectual Property Office segments IP in two main categories:

- Industrial Property covering industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications, and patents.

- Copyright and Related Rights.

As Jamaica looks to advantageously position itself in the global cannabis market, local producers are learning more about geographical indications (GI) - a type of IP that can uniquely identify ganja from a particular region.

The Protection of Geographical Indications Act of 2004 defines GI as a good originating in the territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. 

This simply means, for example, that ganja grown in Orange Hill has unique characteristics based on its geographic origin and that only marijuana grown in that region can use the terms and phrases that link it to the territory. Therefore, GI would provide greater protection to local producers from outsiders looking to capitalise on the use of the name ‘Orange Hill’.

A key benefit of GI is that it allows producers to capitalise on marketing and promotion privileges and create a premium brand because of the uniqueness of the location. Examples of products that have a GI include ‘Jamaican Jerk’, ‘Jamaican Rum’ and ‘Champagne’ from France.

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