Photos: Keynote speakers, from left to right, Louise van Greunen, director for Building Respect for Intellectual Property Rights for WIPO; Michael Edenborough, Queen’s Counsel (QC); Vincent Byron, attorney general; and Jihan Williams, registrar for the St. Kitts Intellectual Property Office. 


Stakeholders participate in intellectual property rights workshop



Basseterre, St. Kitts – A two-day workshop geared toward building capacities of law enforcement officials in St. Kitts and Nevis is currently taking place at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort under the theme “Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.”

The July 3-4 workshop was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The law enforcement officials include magistrates, police, customs officers, at consumer affairs inspectors and other public officers whose expertise may become necessary in arresting, prosecuting and adjudicating cases on intellectual property infringement.

The Honourable Vincent Byron, attorney general and minister of justice and legal affairs, expressed the importance and timeliness of the workshop, as well as the importance of intellectual property in the federation.

 “The government of National Unity places great [emphasis] on intellectual property rights, especially when it comes to our emerging young people,” said Byron as he expressed that the art, poetry and composition of songs created by the youth in the federation need to be protected in order for them to receive the commercial benefit that is due. “Having examined the agenda of the workshop, I am confident that at the end of these two days, our law enforcement and other relevant government officials who interface with matters related to intellectual property will walk away with new knowledge, stronger capacities and a widen awareness of their roles in protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights,” he said. 

Byron encouraged participants to be actively involved as their “efforts in this exercise falls squarely in the government’s overall role to elevate intellectual property as a viable of economic, social and cultural growth, especially in regard to youth entrepreneurship,” he said.

Nicola St. Catherine, assistant registrar at the Intellectual Property Office, used the forum to educate the audience on the subject.

 “Intellectual intellectual property rights is the right of an individual or group to own and benefit from the tangible and intangible creation of their own minds,” she said. The Intellectual Property Office “plays a pivotal role not only in the economic diversification and wealth creation at a national level but also as a partner in the cooperative global effort to afford enforcement of intellectual property rights wherever and whenever possible.”

She added that the intellectual property Office in St. Kitts was created to protect intellectual property rights holders in order for them to enjoy “exclusivity in the exploitation of their intellectual property,” she said.

Louise van Greunen, lead facilitator of the workshop, conveyed her delight at being able to facilitate the event and help people to better understand the importance of intellectual property rights.

 “It is really a pleasure to be here this morning and it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend the next two days with you to look at the enforcement of intellectual property rights in a balanced way,” said Van Greunen as she explained that it is important for people to know their rights. “We should use intellectual property rights for the development of the users, manufacturers and producers.”

St. Kitts and Nevis has taken part in various workshops and seminars organized by WIPO. WIPO also assisted the federation with the development and installation of the Industrial Property Automation System (IPAS) in September 2015.