Intellectual property reform on the horizon


NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Attorney General Ryan Pinder says that the government plans to present new intellectual property legislation to Parliament by the end of the first quarter of 2024 while also noting that the government intends to establish a standalone intellectual property office, consistent with internationally recognized best practices.

Pinder said the government intends to reform the country’s entire intellectual property framework, beginning with legislative reform, to ensure that the nation has legislative protections to permit the economic protection and exploitation of Bahamian creative assets.

“Our government has undertaken an extensive review of the intellectual property laws of The Bahamas and will implement new legislation that is consistent with current international best practices and will allow for an efficient and streamlined process for international and domestic protection of IP assets and creations,” said Pinder while speaking at a weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

He noted that a fundamental component of intellectual property protection is the need to join and implement international conventions.

“We will join the necessary international conventions to ensure the protection of intellectual property rights internationally. We will be joining the necessary conventions for international protection of intellectual property in a phased approach so we can implement the conventions effectively. Initially, the conventions we will join will address trademarks, patents, copyrights, and performers. At the end of the process, we look forward to joining up to 11 new IP international conventions,” said Pinder.

Pinder indicated that the government believes that the administration of intellectual property rights requires a focused and dedicated Intellectual Property Office.

“Once we have implemented our reforms, we will look to split the functions of administering intellectual property rights in The Bahamas from where it currently lies, in the Registrar General’s office, and have a standalone, dedicated IP Office. This is the internationally recognized best practice and would provide the necessary focus on what our government believes is fundamental to Bahamian economic empowerment, especially in the creative industries and Orange Economy,” said Pinder.

He further noted that the government will work with the World Intellectual Property Office to create and implement an intellectual property sector strategy. Our government will work closely with WIPO to create a National Intellectual Property Strategy for The Bahamas.

“Our goal is to undertake this comprehensive public consultation and education exercise over the coming months, solicit feedback on the reforms we propose, and advance the legislation to Parliament by the end of the first quarter of 2024. This will allow us time to be able to launch our reforms in time for the new budget year 2024 to ensure the initiates are all properly funded and have the support of the government. What we propose are major reforms in an area that has been neglected by The Bahamas for decades. To advance our Orange economy, to continue to expand opportunities for Bahamians, we must ensure a modern framework of intellectual property protection; it must be a comprehensive and holistic approach, one where Bahamians are educated and exposed to the process along the way,” said Pinder.