ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Senator Joanne Massiah went to bat for the Antigua & Barbuda Intellectual Property and Commerce Office yesterday, drawing attention to the lack of funding and personnel, which hampers the department.
Massiah, who has direct responsibility over that office, was speaking in the Senate yesterday when she revealed that it had no budget with which to market its work.
Referring to the 2013 government budget she said, “I see under code 33003, public awareness expenses: zero.”
“Recognising the importance for this sector, not only to our economy, but to the artistes, this has to be and should be corrected.”
Massiah said in conjunction with the intellectual property office, various local artistes would be launching a copyright campaign video, later this month. While she did not identify the source of funding, it does not appear to be coming from government.
“We have to correct this anomaly. We can not be saying we are launching public awareness campaigns about intellectual property and have a budget allocation of zero. It can not work.”
Senator Massiah said that the intellectual property office is in critical need of filling at least five positions this year.
“It makes no sense to agitate and be successful in the enactment of the patent law and the regulations and we have made no provision for a patent examiner,” she began.
“Throughout the entire Caricom region there is one patent examiner in Trinidad & Tobago.”
The minister of state in the Ministry of Legal Affairs said she asked that the deputy registrar and copyright officer positions be filled.
“We need an onsite IT officer,” she said. “If we are going to automate the entire registry we got to have somebody on site in case there are technical issues.”