22 January 2013

Caribbean IP Part 25: Trinidad and Tobago

ISO 3166 country code: TT.

As 96% of the population live on Trinidad - Tobago has a population of just over 50,000 - the country is often referred to as just Trinidad (much like Antigua and Barbuda is referred to as Antigua). Nevertheless, I'll refer to it in its more proper longer form.

Trinidad and Tobago is party to a number of International Agreements on intellectual property and plays a particularly active role compared to its regional neighbours. Membership includes the Berne Convention, Locarno Agreement, Nice Agreement, Paris Convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty, Trademark Law Treaty, UPOV Convention, Vienna Agreement and WIPO Convention.

It has yet to join the Madrid Protocol for trade marks or the Hague System for industrial designs.

The trade mark law in Trinidad is modern and the Intellectual Property Office works reasonably efficiently. The forms are straightforward to understand, with some similarities with those in the UK.

The Trinidadian and Tobagonian Government operates a portal which provides the general public on information on intellectual property, most notably on registering a trade mark.

Unfortunately, the actual IPO's website never seems to load for me.

Trinidad and Tobago has recent legislation for the protection of industrial designs dating from 2007 and it is necessary to file locally - or, in other words, a UK registration provides no protection.

The country has modern laws in place, an Office that operates with reasonable speed and has joined various International Agreements. It is felt that - with some amendments to the local trade mark legislation - that the country would be well equipped to join the Madrid Protocol. As a significant market in the English-speaking Caribbean they would be a welcome addition to the Madrid family.