The Paris convention is an international convention devised to facilitate protection of industrial property. This convention was first signed on March 20, 1883 and has since then been revised several times with the last revision taking place at Stockholm on July 14, 1967 and then further amended on September 28, 1979. Trinidad and Tobago became a member of this convention on August 1, 1964.
Accession to this convention enabled the protection of industrial property in Trinidad and Tobago. This includes patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, trade names, indications of source or appellations of origin also commonly referred to as Geographical Indications.
Industrial property applies not only to industry and commerce, but to agricultural and extractive industries and all manufactured and natural products as well. One of the main benefits members of this convention enjoy is what is known as National Treatment. This simply means that equal treatment must be given to applications from member countries, meaning there is no differentiation between the nationals of your country and nationals of the other countries for the purpose of grant, and protection of industrial property in your country.
The PCT was concluded in 1970, amended in 1979 and modified in 1984 and in 2001. It is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a Contracting State on March 10 1994. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing an "international" patent application. Such an application may be filed by anyone who is a national or resident of a PCT Contracting State. It may generally be filed with the national patent office of the Contracting State of which the applicant is a national or resident or, at the applicant's option, with the International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva.
The procedure under the PCT has great advantages for applicants, patent offices and the general public. This includes a longer period of time (18 months), to designate specific countries in which the applicant wants to seek protection in and also to appoint local agents and pay any respective national fee. Another benefit is by utilizing the international search report and the written opinion provided; applicants can evaluate with reasonable probability the chances of their invention being patented. Applicants also have the option to amend their application accordingly during the international preliminary examination.
The Agreement – commonly referred to as the IPC Agreement – was concluded in 1971 and amended in 1979. It is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a member of this agreement on December 20, 1996.
The Strasbourg Agreement establishes the International Patent Classification (IPC) which divides technology into eight sections with multiple carefully detailed subdivisions designed to accurately classify any type of technology. This classification aids governments, inventors, research and development units and others in searching for “prior art” patent documents which facilitates the development of new technologies. The IPC is used by the patent offices of more than 100 States, four regional offices and the Secretariat of WIPO in administering the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (1970).
The Budapest Treaty was concluded in 1977 and is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a member of this treaty on March 10, 1994.
The main feature of the Treaty is that a contracting State which allows or requires the deposit of microorganisms for the purposes of patent procedure must recognize, for such purposes, the deposit of a microorganism with any "international depositary authority" (a scientific institution capable of storing microorganisms), irrespective of whether such authority is on or outside the territory of the said State. Where an invention involves a microorganism or the use of a microorganism, disclosure is not possible in writing but can only be effected by the deposit, with a specialized institution, of a sample of the microorganism.
It is in order to eliminate the need to deposit in each country in which protection is sought, that the Treaty provides that the deposit of a microorganism with any "international depositary authority" suffices for the purposes of patent procedure before the national patent offices of all of the contracting States and before any regional patent office (if such a regional office declares that it recognizes the effects of the Treaty).
The Treaty is primarily advantageous to the depositor who is an applicant for patents in several countries; the deposit of a microorganism under the procedures provided for in the Treaty will reduce his costs; instead of depositing the microorganism in each and every contracting State in which he files a patent application referring to that microorganism, he will deposit it only once, with one depositary authority. There will also be an increase in his security; this means the Treaty increases the security of the depositor because it establishes a uniform system of deposit, recognition and furnishing of samples of microorganisms.
The Nice Agreement establishes a classification of goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks and service marks (the Nice Classification). The trademark offices of Contracting States must indicate, in official documents and publications in connection with each registration, the numbers of the classes of the Classification to which the goods or services for which the mark is registered belong.
The Classification consists of a list of classes – 34 for goods and 11 for services – and an alphabetical list of the goods and services. The latter comprises some 11,000 items.
The Agreement, concluded in 1957, was revised at Stockholm in 1967 and at Geneva in 1977, and was amended in 1979. The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a member of this treaty on March 20, 1996.
The Locarno Agreement, concluded in 1968, was amended in 1979. The Locarno Agreement created a Union, which has an Assembly. Every State that is a member of the Union is a member of the Assembly. The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a member on March 20, 1996.
The Locarno Agreement establishes a classification for industrial designs. The competent offices of the Contracting States must indicate in official documents reflecting the deposit or registration of industrial designs the numbers of the classes and subclasses of the Classification to which the goods incorporating the designs belong. This must also be done in any publication the offices issue in respect of the deposit or registration of industrial designs.
The Classification consists of a list of 32 classes and 219 subclasses and an alphabetical list of goods with an indication of the class and subclass to which each product belongs. The latter comprises approximately 7,000 items.
The Berne Convention, concluded in 1886, was revised at Paris in 1971, and was amended in 1979. Trinidad and Tobago became a member of this convention on August 16, 1988. The Berne Convention deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors. It is based on three basic principles and contains a series of provisions determining the minimum protection to be granted, as well as special provisions available to developing countries that want to make use of them. The three basic principles are the principle of "national treatment", the principle of "automatic" protection and the principle of "independence" of protection.
The minimum standards of protection relate to the works and rights to be protected, and to the duration of protection, as to works, protection must include "every production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever the mode or form of its expression". As to rights, they are, the right to translate, the right to make adaptations and arrangements of the work, the right to perform in public dramatic, dramatic-musical and musical works, the right to communicate to the public the performance of such works and the right to broadcast, just to name a few. The Convention also provides for "moral rights", that is, the right to claim authorship of the work and the right to object to any mutilation, deformation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, the work that would be prejudicial to the author's honour or reputation.
As to the duration of protection, the general rule is that protection must be granted until the expiration of the 50th year after the author's death.
The Convention is open to any State member of the United Nations or of any of the agencies belonging to the United Nations system of organizations. It was concluded in 1971 and Trinidad and Tobago became a member on October 1, 1988.
The Geneva Convention provides each Contracting State to protect a producer of phonograms (an exclusively aural fixation) who is a national of another Contracting State besides the making of duplicates without that producer’s consent; against the importation of such duplicates, where the making or importation is for the purpose of distribution to the public; and against the distribution of such duplicates to the public.
Protection is given under related rights law, copyright law, penal law or competition law and it must last for at least 20 years from the date of first fixation or the first publication of the phonogram (however, national laws increasingly provide for a 50-year term of protection). No obligated licenses is allowed unless, reproduction is proposed solely for teaching or scientific research, restricted to the territory of the State whose authorities give the license, and if equitable remuneration is provided.
The Vienna Agreement, concluded in 1973, was amended in 1985. The Agreement is open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). Trinidad and Tobago became a member on March 20, 1996.
The Vienna Agreement establishes a classification (the Vienna Classification) for marks that consist of, or contain, figurative elements. The competent offices of Contracting States must indicate in official documents and publications relating to registrations and renewals of marks the numbers of the categories, divisions and sections of the Classification to which the figurative elements of those marks belong.
The Classification consists of 29 categories, 145 divisions and some 1,700 sections in which the figurative elements of marks are classified.
Trinidad and Tobago became a member to this convention on November 1, 1996. The Brussels or Satellites Convention provides for the obligation of each Contracting State to take adequate measures to prevent the unauthorized distribution on or from its territory of any programme-carrying signal transmitted by satellite. A distribution is considered unauthorized if it has not been authorized by the organization – typically a broadcasting organization – that decided on the programme's content. The obligation exists in respect of organizations that are nationals of a Contracting State.
The Convention permits certain limitations on protection. The distribution of programme-carrying signals by non-authorized persons is permitted if the signals carry short excerpts containing reports of current events or, as quotations, short excerpts of the programme carried by the emitted signals or, in the case of developing countries, if the programme carried by the emitted signals is distributed solely for the purposes of teaching, including adult teaching or scientific research. The Convention does not establish a term of protection, leaving the matter to domestic legislation.
The provisions of this Convention are not applicable, however, where the distribution of signals is made from a direct broadcasting satellite.
The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. UPOV was established in 1961 by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (the “UPOV Convention”). The UPOV Convention came into force on August 10, 1968 and has been revised on March 19, 1991, in order to reflect technological developments in plant breeding and experience acquired with the application of the UPOV Convention. Trinidad and Tobago became a member on January 30, 1998.
The UPOV Convention provides the basis for UPOV members to encourage plant breeding by granting breeders of new plant varieties an intellectual property right: the breeder’s right. In order to obtain protection, the breeder needs to file individual applications with the authorities of UPOV members entrusted with the task of granting breeders' rights.
Under the UPOV Convention, the breeder’s right is only granted where the variety is new, distinct, uniform, stable and has a suitable denomination.
The breeder’s right does not extend to acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes, for experimental purposes and for the purpose of breeding other varieties.
The TLT was concluded in 1994 and is open to States members of WIPO and to certain intergovernmental organizations. Trinidad and Tobago became a member on April 16, 1998.
The aim of the Trademark Law Treaty (TLT) is to standardize and streamline national and regional trademark registration procedures. This is achieved through the simplification and harmonization of certain features of those procedures, thus making trademark applications and the administration of trademark registrations in multiple jurisdictions less complex and more predictable.
The great majority of the provisions of the TLT concern the procedure before a trademark office which can be divided into three main phases: application for registration; changes after registration; and renewal.
Furthermore, the TLT provides that a power of attorney may relate to several applications or registrations by the same person or entity.
The TLT also contains Model International Forms (MIF) corresponding to the maximum requirements that a Contracting Party may provide for in respect of a particular procedure or document. A Contracting Party may also prepare its own Individualized International Form for use by applicants, provided that such forms do not require mandatory elements that would be additional to the elements referred to in the corresponding MIF.
Most notably, the TLT does not allow a requirement as to the attestation, notarization, authentication, legalization or certification of any signature, except in the case of the surrender of a registration.
The Beijing Treaty on Audio-visual Performances was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference on the Protection of Audio-visual Performances, which took place in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012. The Treaty deals with the intellectual property rights of performers in audio-visual performances.
It grants performers four kinds of economic rights for their performances fixed in audio-visual fixations, such as motion pictures: the right of reproduction, the right of distribution, the right of rental and the right of making available.
As to unfixed (live) performances, the Treaty grants performers three kinds of economic rights the right of broadcasting (except in the case of rebroadcasting), the right of communication to the public (except where the performance is a broadcast performance), the right of fixation.
The Treaty also grants performers moral rights, that is, the right to claim to be identified as the performer (except where such an omission would be dictated by the manner of the use of the performance); and the right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification that would be prejudicial to the performer's reputation, taking into account the nature of the audio-visual fixations.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (MVT) is the latest addition to the body of international copyright treaties administered by WIPO. Its main goal is to create a set of mandatory limitations and exceptions for the benefit of the blind, visually impaired and otherwise print disabled (VIPs). There is no requirement to be a member of any other international copyright treaty to join the MVT; membership is open to Member States of WIPO and to the European Community. The Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013 in Marrakesh. Its entry into force requires the deposit of 20 instruments of ratification or accession by eligible parties.
It requires Contracting Parties to introduce a standard set of limitations and exceptions to copyright rules in order to permit reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in formats designed to be accessible to VIPs, and to permit exchange of these works across borders by organizations that serve those beneficiaries.
The broad definition includes persons who are blind, visually impaired, or reading disabled or persons with a physical disability that prevents them from holding and manipulating a book. Only works "in the form of text, notation and/or related illustrations, whether published or otherwise made publicly available in any media", including audio books, fall within the scope of the MVT regime. The MVT requires WIPO to establish an "information access point" to allow voluntary sharing of information facilitating the identification of authorized entities. WIPO is also invited to share information about the functioning of the Treaty. In addition, Contracting Parties undertake to assist their authorized entities engaged in cross-border transfer arrangements.
The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks is governed by two treaties: the Madrid Agreement, concluded in 1891 and revised at Stockholm (1967), and amended in 1979, and the Protocol relating to that Agreement, concluded in 1989, which aims to make the Madrid system more flexible and more compatible with the domestic legislation of certain countries or intergovernmental organizations that had not been able to accede to the Agreement.
The system makes it possible to protect a mark in a large number of countries by obtaining an international registration that has effect in each of the designated Contracting Parties.
An application for international registration (international application) may be filed only by a natural person or legal entity having a connection – through establishment, domicile or nationality – with a Contracting Party to the Agreement or the Protocol.
An application for international registration must designate one or more Contracting Parties in which protection is sought. Further designations can be effected subsequently.
A major benefit of the Madrid system is, instead of filing a separate national application in each country of interest, in several different languages, in accordance with different national or regional procedural rules and regulations and paying several different (and often higher) fees, an international registration may be obtained by simply filing one application with the International Bureau (through the office of the home country), in one language (English, French or Spanish) and paying one set of fees.
The Hague Agreement, concluded in 1925, was revised at London in 1934 and at The Hague in 1960. It was completed by an Additional Act signed at Monaco in 1961 and by a Complementary Act signed at Stockholm in 1967, which was amended in 1979. As noted above, a further Act was adopted at Geneva in 1999.
The Hague Agreement allows applicants to register an industrial design by filing a single application with the International Bureau of WIPO, enabling design owners to protect their designs with minimum formalities in multiple countries or regions. The Hague Agreement also simplifies the management of an industrial design registration, since it is possible to record subsequent changes and to renew the international registration through a single procedural step.
An international design registration may be obtained only by a natural person or legal entity having a connection – through establishment, domicile, nationality or, under the 1999 Act, habitual residence – with a Contracting Party to either of the two Acts.
International design applications may be filed with the International Bureau of WIPO, either directly or through the industrial property office of the Contracting Party of origin if the law of that Contracting Party so permits or requires. In practice, however, virtually all international applications are filed directly with the International Bureau, and the majority are filed using the electronic filing interface on WIPO's website.
International applications may include up to 100 designs, provided they all belong to the same class of the International Classification for Industrial Designs (Locarno Classification). Applicants may choose to file an application in English, French or Spanish. International applications must contain one or several reproductions of the industrial design(s) and must designate at least one Contracting Party.