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“The Odyssey”: the Journey to Establish and Modernise Intellectual Property Protections in the Bahamas By Rodger Outten

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“The Odyssey”: the Journey to Establish and Modernise Intellectual Property Protections in the Bahamas By Rodger Outten: The Bahamas is on the brink of a transformative era in intellectual property (IP) protections. With the upcoming implementation of new legislation and reforms to existing laws, the country aims to modernise and streamline its IP framework, marking the end of outdated practices that have persisted for decades. This legislative overhaul is set to provide significant benefits for local practitioners and the international community alike.

Since gaining independence in 1973, The Bahamas has made incremental progress in developing its IP laws. The country became a signatory to various international treaties, including the Berne Convention and the Paris Convention, laying a foundational framework for IP protections. However, substantial legislative advancements were slow to materialise. Rodger Outten

Challenges and Renewed Efforts Despite the progress made in 2015, the supporting regulations for these acts were never finalised, limiting their effectiveness. Recognising the need for further reform, the Bahamian Government renewed its efforts in 2023 to revisit and complete the legislative framework. This resurgence of interest was driven by a loss of competitiveness in the global IP sector and a commitment to fostering innovation and developing the local Orange Economy. Key Changes and Anticipated Impact The most notable changes include an expanded framework of IP protections for both local and international applicants. The Bahamian Government plans to enhance global protections through proposed accession to new international treaties, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT).

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  • Disclosure Orders: Enabling right holders to request the disclosure of commercial information to better assess the economic impact of infringing activities.

  • Customs Interventions: Allowing right holders to request the Department of Customs to treat imports as prohibited goods, facilitating the seizure and destruction of infringing items.

  • Copyright Amendments: Expanding protections under the Copyright Act to align with international treaties and providing clearer definitions and enforcement mechanisms for performers' rights.

  • Geographical Indications and Integrated Circuits: Strengthening protections for geographical indications and original layout designs of integrated circuits.

The modernisation of IP legislation in The Bahamas is set to solidify the country's position as a respected player on the international stage. By aligning with international best practices and enhancing IP protections, The Bahamas aims to foster innovation, creativity, and international trade. The Bahamas is poised to adopt comprehensive IP protections, enabling local and international rights holders to conduct business with confidence and ease. Read The Full Article By Rodger Outten in Our Latest Edition on The Women's IP Annual 2024


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