St. Kitts and Nevis to benefit from the Launch of IPAS

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs hosted the launch of the Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS) on Friday, September 11th at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) Conference Room.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Legal Affairs and Communications, Honourable Vincent Byron gave insight into the launch.

“I am extremely pleased to identify with the launch of the Industrial Property Automation System as a part of the Federation’s thrust to encourage the creativity and viability of the people of our beloved country,” said the Attorney General, adding that the government envisions an increase in the business potential of this sector by increasing efficiency and thereby improving the protection afforded to Intellectual Property (IP) in all its forms.

The Attorney General stated that on a departmental level, “the project represents the IPO’s efforts to increase efficiency and to better serve IP stakeholders in the Federation and beyond. This he said is one of many steps being undertaken to modernize and streamline the process and improve the delivery of service by the IPO through the significant decrease in processing time and increase in accuracy.”

Adel Baccouche, World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Project Manager, travelled from Geneva to oversee the launch of the project and explained briefly the nature and scope of services provided by WIPO to its member states.

“We streamline the automation process, the IP processing first,” said Project Manager Baccouche. “When we try to automate, we cannot set up a computer system while procedures are redundant. We try to identify the process within the framework of the prescribed laws.

“Then we create National IP databases such as patents, trademarks and designs within the Industrial Property Automation and also within the copyright systems.”

Nicola St. Catherine, Assistant Registrar at the IPO in St. Kitts and Nevis says that this system means a lot for the Federation.

“For the short term, it means that all records of our (St. Kitts and Nevis) registered trademarks and trademark applications will be computerized and uploaded into the system,” she said. “In the medium term, it means that our backlog of trademark applications will be cleared and we will be able to better serve stakeholders and trademark agents. Medium to long term, we are hoping that this would mean a better business environment because now persons both resident and abroad will be aware that we take their IP very seriously and hopefully this will increase our investment potential.”

The Automation of all Intellectual Offices, which is an initiative by WIPO, is a capital project that seeks to digitize and automate the trademark application and registration process. This process will lead to the smoother, more efficient processing of trademarks and greater transparency and access to trademark information in the Federation.

Minister Byron said that “this is a major step that is instrumental in Government’s compliance with and accession to a number of International Trade-related and Intellectual Property-related issues.”

He extended thanks and appreciation to all who were instrumental or involved in any way in making this initiative possible.

The IPAS was officially launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on September 9th, 2015.

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