The Government of Barbados has, with the assistance of the World Intellectual Property Organization, formulated a National Intellectual Property Strategic Plan.
And, according to Small Business Development Minister, Donville Inniss, this is aimed at enhancing institutional and capacity building through the realignment of intellectual property and related development policies.
He made this disclosure recently at the official opening ceremony of Innovate Barbados 2016, a joint venture between the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation and Promotech Inc., at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The Minister told attendees that the National Plan would ensure that key areas such as creativity, innovation and productivity were central to the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of this country.
“It is also a critical element of our innovation game plan, that is: lining up the resources and relationships needed to support brilliant design ideas. For too long now we have heard about the failure of local entrepreneurs and inventors to recognise the importance of protecting their intellectual property. But what we don’t know is the monetary value lost by neglecting to protect intellectual ideas and exploiting those licenses to transform intellectual property into profitable business models,” he contended.
To this end, Mr. Inniss explained that patent, trademark and industrial design registration was widely used to assess inventive activity, as well as the capacity to exploit knowledge and translate it into potential economic gains.
Citing statistics from the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office during the period January 2011 to October 2016, the Minister pointed out that trademark applications filed in Barbados totalled 7,782, of which 2,267 were registered. One hundred and sixty-two patent applications were filed, 54 of which were granted; while 37 industrial design applications were filed, four of which were approved.
Noting that while these numbers in themselves told a story, Mr. Inniss stressed that it must be made clear that innovation was not exclusively about developing a trendy, new product, and was not tied to any single “eureka moment”.
“The truth is that there are ideas, and sometimes simple ideas, that change the world. Don’t think that you have to design something to be innovative. The journey to sustainable development will be considerably easier and shorter if the focus is instead on people and their problems. History shows that few great innovators worried about anything else. The fact that they found a new idea had more to do with their passion for solving someone’s problem than anything else,” he maintained.