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Amendments to Trademark Laws

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Sep 04, 2023 (Newsletter Issue 7/23)
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Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules to Enter into Force

Jamaica's Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules 2022 (rules) are expected to come into effect on 30 September 2023.

An update to the rules was required following the entry into force of the Madrid Protocol in Jamaica on 27 March 2022. The rules outline the procedures to be followed in respect of international trade mark applications designating Jamaica and international applications in respect of which Jamaica is the country of origin.

Notably, the Rules have also been updated to increase official trade mark prosecution fees across the board, introduce a process for requesting the expedited examination and processing of applications, and set out formality requirements for non-traditional trade mark applications.

Official trade mark prosecution fees will be increased for all types of national applications effective 30 September 2023. Applications for registrations filed prior to 30 September 2023 will be processed in accordance with the current fees regime, even if publication and registration fees do not become payable until after 30 September 2023.

Trade mark applicants will be permitted to request expedited examination for new applications. There is also an option to request that other types of applications or requests be processed on an expedited basis upon the payment of an additional fee. The request for expedited examination made at the time of initial filing will result in an almost doubling of trade mark application costs for a single class application. It is not yet known how quickly expedited applications will be examined, but currently the examination of regular applications is generally taking longer than six months to be completed.

With regard to the filing of non-traditional trade marks (three-dimensional shapes, colour, sound, pattern, touch, taste, smell, hologram and multi-media marks, for example), the rules introduce updated formality requirements. They include the acceptance of audio files (to support applications for sound marks), video files (to support applications for hologram marks) and audio-visual files (to support applications for multi-media marks). Applications for smell and taste marks may contain the chemical formulation that creates the scent or taste. Jamaica's Trade Mark Act still calls for the graphical representation of trade marks and this is still also a general requirement. The new rules also require applicants claiming colour as a distinctive feature of a trade mark to specify the colour(s) claimed by reference to an internationally recognised colour identification system (such as the Pantone colour system).

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