Legal Framework

Industrial Law

For more details on industrial designs law in Jamaica see Design and Copyright Protection of Products World Law and Practice, Thomson, Sweet & Maxwell, 2005 and Jamaica: Intellectual Property by Dianne Daley, International Encyclopaedia of Laws, Kluwer Law International, Intellectual Property – Suppl. 47 (September 2008)

Existing Legislation On Registered Designs

  • The Designs Act No. 32, July 1937, 
  • The Designs (Amendment Act) No. 9-75, March 1975, 
  • The Designs Rules, September 1937 
  • The Designs (Amendment) Rules No. 171, December 1983

An industrial design as defined by the Designs Act is any design that can be applied to an article of manufacture or any natural or artificial substance, whether the design is applicable for the pattern, or the ornament thereof.

The Designs Act protects designs which are original and novel in Jamaica through a system of registration. Applications for registration can be made in respect of any of 16 classes of designs, with one application being made per class.

The owner of a protected industrial design has the right to prevent third parties, not having the owner’s consent from making, selling or importing articles bearing or embodying a design which is a copy or substantially a copy of the protected design, when such acts are undertaken for commercial purposes.

A registered proprietor of a design has copyright in the design for fifteen (15) years from the registration of the design. There are no renewal periods or annuities for designs.

The Designs Act of 1937 falls below the standards set by the TRIPS Agreement and the Paris Convention. Foreign applicants have not yet been able to take advantage of priority filings notwithstanding Jamaica’s accession to the Paris Convention. Although the Designs Act of 1937 was amended in 1975 those amendments merely transferred the administration of the registration system from the Registrar General to the Registrar of Companies. Designs are registered under an old system of classification with only 16 classes.

Similar to the Patents Legislation, the Draft Bill on Patents and Designs will repeal the existing Designs Legislation and incorporate provisions for compliance with the TRIPS Agreement.

The Designs Law is administered by the Trade Marks and Designs Directorate of Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).

For more information visit JIPO’s official website

Prior to 2015, there was no statutory registration system in Jamaica and no requirement for registration under the Copyright Act. With the passage of Jamaica’s Copyright Act of 1993, the government of Jamaica policy was to not impose a statutory system of copyright registration based on the principle of automatic protection under the Berne Convention, i.e. copyright protection must not be conditional upon compliance with any formality.

In 2002 a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, the Intellectual Property Service Centre (IPC), created a voluntary copyright recordation and deposit facility in conjunction with National Library of Jamaica, where copyright owners could file their ownership claims to copyright and deposit a copy of their work, to establish a public record of their claims. IPC became a nationally recognized voluntary copyright registration facility.

The Government’s Copyright Registration System 
Copyright registration is now recognized under Jamaica’s Copyright Act. The government introduced statutory copyright registration through amendments to the Copyright Act in 2015 making it is possible to register your copyright at the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).  The Copyright (Amendment) Act 2015 in force July 30, 2015, establishes JIPO as the Copyright Registry and outlines procedures and fees for registration.

The JIPO copyright system is an adaptation of the copyright recordation system carried out by IPC for several years, with one of the main differences being that JIPO only accepts works in digital format.

The JIPO Copyright Registration process requires the Applicant (author/copyright owner) to complete sign and submit an Application for Registration form as prescribed in the First Schedule to the Amendment Act.  The original application (not a digital copy) must be submitted to JIPO. The Application must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, Attorney-at-Law, Minister of Religion or Medical Doctor.  The Applicant must also complete sign and submit a Declaration which is to be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.  A digital copy of the work (in specified formats) must be deposited with the application at JIPO.

Voluntary System
The JIPO Copyright registration system is voluntary.  Registration is not a condition for copyright protection. Copyright protection is automatic so long as the work qualifies for protection under the Copyright Act.

One of the benefits of the Copyright registration system is that the certificate of registration and other documents which are certified extracts of the JIPO Copyright Register are presumed to be authentic for all purposes and are admissible in evidence in any legal proceedings.

Registration Fees
The JIPO Copyright Registration fees are based on the type of work. In relation to short literary works such as poems, song lyrics and short stories, the fees are discounted based on the volume of the works being registered by the Applicant. For longer works such as books and magazines the fees are based on the number of pages.  

For further information on the copyright registration procedures and fees please contact us at

The IPC is a non-profit non-governmental entity which was created in 2000 to provide services to intellectual property rights owners and users of intellectual property with a focus on encouraging and facilitating the documentation of rights which was then lacking largely due to a culture of oral transactions and the absence of a formal registration system.

The aim was to establish and maintain a registry for copyright works and to provide the facility for certification, verification and recordation of copyright rights. As such, the IPC voluntary copyright registration facility was one of its core activities when it was launched.

Other objects of the IPC include:

  • To further the education and to increase the awareness of intellectual property rights owners of their rights and obligations and other matters pertaining thereto and to provide for the giving and holding of lectures, exhibitions, seminars, workshops and meetings for the promotion or advancement of intellectual property education;

IPC opened its doors to the public on March 13, 2000 and was officially launched as part of the activities of National Intellectual Property Week (May 14 – 19, 2000) on Monday May 15, 2000 at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.

The Government of Jamaica through the Ministries of Education and Culture, Industry, Commerce & Technology and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports with portfolio for Entertainment publicly supported IPC’s establishment. Officials from WIPO and other industry stakeholders attended the launch.

The IPC was initially funded by Convergent Services Ltd, and run by the Jamaican Musicologist, radio talk show host and cultural activist the late Keith Anthony “Tony” Laing. The IPC Advisory Board which became the Board of Directors when IPC was incorporated as a registered company comprised representatives from the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Government Archives, the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and the Media Owners’ Association of Jamaica.

The late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford – Vice Chancellor UWI, served as IPC’s chairman until a few years before his passing in 2010. Founding IPC director, Mr John Aarons who was a former Executive Director of the National Library of Jamaica (2002) and Government Archivist (since 2009), assumed the IPC chairmanship and served the IPC for several years before his retirement in July 2017.

IPC continues to be supported by volunteers and is currently focused on its intellectual property educational objectives.

The Copyright Claimant is required to fill out a voluntary declaration of the claim to ownership of copyright, containing a brief description of the work and the date and place of creation or first publication. The Declaration must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or in the case of a foreign applicant by a Notary Public.

The Claimant is also required to complete an IPC Copyright Claimant Form providing further details of the claim. A copy or true representation of the work must be provided to the IPC for deposit in the National Library.

The IPC makes a publication of the claim in the Jamaica Gazette, issues a certificate of registration and is available to support the certificate in evidence in the event such proof is needed by the copyright claimant in Jamaica.

Works deposited under IPC’s copyright Recordation System are housed in the National Library, while the copyright claims are published in the Jamaica Gazette.

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