Guyana needs intellectual property laws – UG forum hears


Dean of the school of entrepreneurship and business innovation at the University of Guyana, Dr Leyland Lucas has said that whilst Guyana is one of the fastest growing economies and there is a current explosion in economic activities, the country, is lagging behind when it comes to intellectual property rights.

He was at the time speaking at the University of Guyana’s collaboration forum with the United States Embassy Office for International Trade and the US Patent and Trademark Office, on Friday last, which hosted a discussion on Intellectual Property (IP) ahead of World Intellectual Property Day which will be observed on April 26.

Whilst presenting, Dr Lucas underscored that “unfortunately like everything else, laws tend to lag at issues, and one of the areas in which the law is lagging is in terms of intellectual property rights and how we deal with it”.

Implementing strong intellectual property rights laws creates an environment that creates innovation and encourages inventors to come up with new solutions and opens the door for foreign investments. Leyland explained that it is important for The University of Guyana to demonstrate that they understand the value of intellectual property in this regard. The university recently incorporated intellectual property rights into its curriculum to ensure that every student understands what intellectual property rights mean and how it is likely to impact their lives.

Dr Lucus further stated “we must not only educate our students but all stakeholders involved in the process, everyone we come into contact with. We must help them understand their value proposition, you just didn’t make a tune or draw a painting because you felt like doing it. It is important that we demonstrate that we understand the value of intellectual property and provide the enforcement requirements that are necessary to reinforce the issue of ownership of innovations”.

Meanwhile, present at the event, was the Intellectual Property Attaché for Mercosur, the Guianas, and Suriname David Kellis who highlighted Ethiopia’s success from trademarking major coffee brands.

As of 2007, Ethiopia a significant coffee producer in the market who began to utilize trademark protection on major coffee brands.

Kellis underscored that as a result of utilising trademark protections these brands were able to earn more than $100M annually which resulted in a significant increase for workers in the industry.

Recently, officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office engaged with Attorney General Anil Nandlall to learn about the local landscape and activities happening on the Intellectual Property front. They also advocated for the promotion of greater Intellectual Property protection and even offered to provide assistance necessary to enhance the local intellectual property landscape in Guyana.