St. Kitts and Nevis Working with OECS Member States to Establish Sub-Regional Intellectual Property Office

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 19, 2019 (SKNIS): A patent filed with the Intellectual Property Office in St. Kitts and Nevis (IOPSKN) is only protected legally within the confines of its national borders. However, there are ongoing discussions to streamline the expansion of exclusive use safeguards across the sub-region.

“Most recently, up to last week, we actually have begun discussions about an OECS [Organization of Eastern Caribbean States] patent,” Director of the IPOSKN, Jihan Williams, said on Wednesday’s edition (June 19, 2019) of the government radio and television programme “Working for You.”

Ms. Williams noted that the move is encouraging and is more practical given that as a member state of the sub-regional grouping, St. Kitts and Nevis shares the same economic space, currency, freedom of movement, and close relations with 11 other member and associated member states.

“Because we already have that existing system in place, we have begun discussions about an OECS patent where someone would then be able to make an application to the OECS office,” she said. “We have suggested that we use an existing IP office and that IP office would then act as the OECS [office] and if [a patent] is granted, then that person would have protection within the OECS.”

Under the current system, a person would have to file for a patent individually in each OECS member state, which can be a very costly and lengthy process. Discussions to have a single patent system for member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) began some 10 years ago but stalled at some point.

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