(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Senior officials from CARIFORUM and the European Union (EU) will meet on 26 September 2016 in Bridgetown, Barbados in an effort to take forward dialogue on potential cooperation opportunities in the Caribbean Region in the area of intellectual property (IP).

The one-day forum, entitled CARIFORUM-EU Workshop on Intellectual Property (IP) Tools, Networks and Cooperation Opportunities, is jointly organized by the CARIFORUM Directorate of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, OECS and CARICOM/CARIFORUM.

This Workshop is made possible with support from EUIPO and the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP). The EUIPO is responsible for managing the EU trade mark and the registered Community design. The Office also works with the IP offices of the EU Member States and international partners to offer a similar registration experience for trade marks and designs across Europe and the world.

The Director-General of the CARIFORUM Directorate, Mr. Percival Marie, stated "the expectation is that the Workshop will foster exchange of knowledge and experience." Mr. Marie applauded the joint initiative and expressed the hope that, in so far as the forum is designed to bring together a cross-section of stakeholders, it will ultimately contribute to enhanced cooperation.

This cooperation is especially pertinent in the context of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which was signed in 2008. The Agreement includes a chapter on Innovation and Intellectual Property. The objectives of the chapter in question are set out in Article 132. Broadly, the intent of this chapter is to foster the development of CARIFORUM innovation systems so as to enhance the competitiveness of CARIFORUM firms, and there is recognition that the protection and enforcement of IP contributes to fostering creativity, innovation and competitiveness. In this regard, the provisions of the chapter also delve into the legislative and administrative environments which are required in order to provide protection of IP. Of note are the references in the chapter to cooperation between the Parties, for instance, support to be extended to CARIFORUM so that States may develop and enforce the protection of IP.

In this context, the Workshop will gather representatives drawn from CARIFORUM States' IP Offices, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, the Caribbean Export Development Agency, the Caribbean Development Bank, EU Delegation offices and EU Member States' missions in the Region, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Caribbean Unit of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Resource persons from the CARICOM Secretariat and the EUIPO will also be on hand.

In a planned panel discussion, representatives of CARIFORUM States' IP Offices will be afforded the opportunity to highlight their needs. Moreover, the EUIPO will call attention to its experience with respect to international cooperation, networks and tools, complemented by an overview thereafter—by the EU Delegation Office in Barbados—of EU priorities for the Caribbean Region.

A joint brainstorming session is slated to take emerging perspectives into consideration, with a view to identifying potential areas of cooperation in IP, such as Geographical Indications. In this connection, the expectation is that the Workshop will culminate in an examination of next steps to further strengthen cooperation.

For more information, please contact:
Nand C. Bardouille
Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Unit
CARIFORUM Directorate
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