11 December 2012

Caribbean IP Part 21: St Lucia

ISO 3166 country code: LC.

St Lucia is a member of the main IP treaties, namely, the Berne Convention, Nice Agreement, Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Vienna Agreement, WIPO Convention and more. It boasts record participation amongst the member countries of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

The Registry of Companies and Intellectual Property ("ROCIP") administers IP rights in St Lucia. However, from an internet perspective they could just be the 'Registry of Companies' as no mention is made of their intellectual property responsibilities.

Automation of IP records is a desire of the ROCIP to greatly improve efficiency of what is largely a manual, paper-based system at present.

Of a more modern note, St Lucia no longer allows for UK trade marks to be extended to the country and operates a purely local system. Likewise, for designs, UK registered designs no longer extend to St Lucia automatically; the island now has a purely independent filing system in place.

St Lucia is not a rapid registration country. However, it also does not usually suffer from large backlogs of applications. Its membership of various international treaties is noteworthy. An obvious exception is the Madrid Protocol. This should not be ruled out in the future as St Lucia has demonstrated a commitment to international IP treaties. However, it would require legislative amendments so it would be preferable that it did not rush to join up until these are in place for fear of making any possible Madrid Protocol designations unenforceable.