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Trademark Registration in Jamaica-Guide for International Clients

Trade Marks are registered in Jamaica under the Trade Marks Act (“the Act”). In the Act, a trademark is defined as any sign that is capable of being graphically represented and capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of another undertaking.

The purpose of this article is to provide a very abbreviated outline of the trademark application process in Jamaica so as to merely guide international clients on the requirements for a trademark application in Jamaica.

The documents or information which are normally required for the submission of an application for the registration of a trademark include:-

  • The name and Top of FormBottom of Form address of the applicant;
  • Class or Classes for the Mark;
  • A statement of the goods or services in relation to which registration of the mark is sought;
  • A representation of the trademark with the relevant amounts of the mark; and
  • Such other particulars as may be prescribed.

 

These documents and information are submitted to the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) for processing. Upon completion of the registration process, a certificate of registration will be issued.

SEARCH

It is recommended that an applicant request a search prior to registration to ensure that the mark for the goods or services is not already in existence as a registered mark.

On the 20th of September 2016, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) issued a notice to its customers in relation to searches which reads as follows:-

“Please be advised that the public computers in the search area are made available for obtaining information on specific trademarks and trademark clearance searches, i.e. checking if a similar or identical trademark has been filed. Other types of searches, namely proprietor searches and date range searches will no longer be available using these public computers. Proprietor searches will be performed by the office upon request and payment of the requisite fees, with only information on published and registered marks being provided.”

What is of importance is that proprietor searches will no longer be permitted by customers themselves, and information on unpublished applications will not be provided within the results of a proprietor search.

RENEWAL

A trademark registration is protected for ten years. Upon expiration, it is renewable for the same period. Renewal requests should be made before the expiry of the registration. If the registration is not renewed, the trademark will be removed from the register.

AUTHOR: Mrs. Thalicia Blair-Foreman-Head Of The Corporate, Commercial And Intellectual Property Law Department
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.

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Subsidiary Company or Registration of a Branch or Overseas Company in Jamaica

International or Foreign Companies are normally interested in establishing companies with limited liability in Jamaica. The Foreign Investors normally elect either to incorporate a Subsidiary Company or to register an Overseas or Branch company in Jamaica.

 

  1. Subsidiary Company
    To incorporate a subsidiary company in Jamaica. A new limited liability company would be incorporated in Jamaica pursuant to the Companies Act, 2004 and the principal shareholder of this newly incorporated limited liability company would be the international company.

 

  1. Registration of Branch or Overseas Company in Section 363 of the Companies Act, 2004Top of FormBottom of Form allows for a company incorporated outside of Jamaica which establishes a place of business in Jamaica, shall within one month of the establishment of the place of business in Jamaica register an ‘Overseas Company’ in Jamaica by doing the following:-

 

  1. Submit to the Companies Office of Jamaica, certified copies of any Charter, Statutes or Articles or other Instrument of Incorporation of the Company. In essence, the Companies Office generally require the submission of certified copies of any official documents which were used to incorporate the company in the jurisdiction of incorporation;

 

  1. The Charter, Statutes or Articles or other Instrument of Incorporation of the company must be certified by an official of the Government body responsible for custody of the original in the country of incorporation. For example, the certification could be done by the local Companies Office in the country of incorporation if the local Companies Office is the body responsible for custody of the original. If these certified documents are not in English, a certified translation must be attached and there are special requirements for the certification of the translated documents; and

 

  • File documents and certain specified forms at the Companies Office of Jamaica outlining, for example, the particulars of the Director, Secretary, the authorized officials of the Company and any changes in the Company.

 

AUTHOR:
Mrs. Thalicia Blair-Foreman-Head of the Corporate, Commercial and Intellectual Property Law Department
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.

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How to file for a Divorce in Jamaica while living overseas

Individuals who live overseas or abroad and who have some connections to Jamaica normally enquire whether they should apply for their divorce in Jamaica. The purpose of this article is to provide an outline of the frequently asked questions which our Firm receive from those individuals and the advice provided in response to same so that persons can know whether they are eligible for obtaining a divorce in Jamaica while living abroad.

Who can apply to the Supreme Court of Jamaica for a Divorce?

It is no secret that Jamaica offers destination weddings and thousands of couples all over the world get married in very picturesque locations in Jamaica and are thereafter issued with marriage certificates from the relevant authority. Where, unfortunately, the marriage breaks down, we normally receive enquiries related to whether they can apply for a divorce in Jamaica.
The Attorneys in the Firm normally advise that the following are the categories of persons who can apply for a divorce in Jamaica pursuant to the Matrimonial Causes Act:-:

  • Where either party to the marriage is a Jamaican national; or
  • Where either party to the marriage is domiciled in Jamaica at the commencement of the proceedings; or
  • Where either party to marriage resides in Jamaica and have done so for at least 12 months immediately preceding the commencement of the proceedings.

Accordingly, if persons got married in Jamaica but either party to the marriage does not meet any of the requirements outlined above, then the Court in Jamaica would not have jurisdiction or power to grant the divorce or the decree for dissolution of the marriage.

How long do I have to be married and separated before I can apply for a divorce?

Generally, you must have been married for at least two years and separated from your wife or husband for at least a continuous period of 12 months before you can petition for divorce. Section 8 (2) of the Act, however, allows for a petition for dissolution of marriage to be presented prior to two years of marriage in certain limited circumstances. The relevant section of the Act states that a Supreme Court Judge may, upon an application being made, grant permission for a Petition to be presented to the court prior to two years of marriage where reconciliation have been attempted with the assistance of an approved marriage counselor and there are special circumstances that would justify the hearing of the Petition before the two years period.

In addition, the concept of ‘separation while under the same roof’ is recognized under Jamaican Laws. This essentially means that parties to a marriage could be deemed to be separated under the law even if they continue to cohabit in the same dwelling once there is evidence that they live separate lives. For example, they sleep in separate bedrooms, or they no longer engage in sexual relations or cease to carry out household duties such as washing, cleaning or cooking on their spouse’s behalf.

What do I need to prove in order to obtain a divorce in Jamaica?

You need to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that there is no likelihood that cohabitation will be resumed.

Do I have to physically be in Jamaica in order to obtain the divorce?

Once the Attorneys in the Firm receives certain instructions, it could utilize the procedure where the divorce is granted ‘on paper’ which simply means the procedure where the divorce is granted after filing different documents at different stages of the proceedings without the necessity of a hearing or attendance of the parties at Court. These documents which are filed include:-

The Petition and supporting or accompanying documents;

  1. The Affidavit of Service of the Petition and Supporting documents which are filed to prove that the Petition and Supporting documents have been duly served on the Respondent;
  2. The Notice of Application to Dispense with Hearing or Decree Nisi Application (Application for Initial Order ending the Marriage) and Supporting Documents- These documents are prepared once a search reveals that the other party has not filed an acknowledgement or answer to the proceedings. Accordingly, the divorce would be uncontested and thereby does not require a hearing or the attendance of the parties at Court;

iii. The Decree Absolute Application- Six weeks after the granting of the Decree Nisi, the Petitioner may apply for the final order ending the marriage called the Decree Absolute. This application is also considered on paper without the need for the attendance at a hearing by the parties. The Decree Absolute is official confirmation that the marriage is dissolved.

AUTHOR: Blair Foreman & Co., Attorneys-at-Law
Copyright Blair Foreman & Co.

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Changes to the Work Permit Regulations

Short-Term business travellers can now gain several costs and time benefits from the changes in the new Work Permit Regulations. Since we are now living and working in a global village short-term business travellers are now able to make Jamaica one of their chosen destinations to visit on specified business trips without the usual cost and time associated with obtaining a work permit.

The Amendments to the Foreign Nationals and Commonwealth Citizens (Employment) Exemptions Regulations (“the Regulations”) are extremely advantageous to short-term business travellers. This is so because short-term business traveller within specific categories who conduct business in Jamaica on one or more visits not exceeding thirty (30) days per visit in any calendar are exempt from the work permit requirement. However, please note that the total number of visits by such short-term business travellers cannot exceed six (6) months in any calendar year.

The specific categories of short-term business travellers covered by the Amendments to the Regulations are namely:-

  • Individuals who visit Jamaica to inspect the plant, machinery or equipment of any factory or other industrial works or to give technical advice on the operation of any undertaking, business or enterprise of whatever kind that is based in Jamaica.
  • Directors, inspectors and auditors of any company, association, organisation, or body that operates in Jamaica; or controls any company, association, organisation, or body which operates in Jamaica; and
  • Individuals who visit Jamaica, on behalf of a principal who is not in Jamaica, in connection with the appointment of, or for the purpose of having business consultations with a business agent or distributor that is based in Jamaica.