Guyana’s Intellectual Property Rights legislation to be revised

Though Guyana’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) exists, there are many challenges when it comes to implementation due to outdated regulations. However, steps are being taken to update the country’s draft legislation.

Parliamentary Counsel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs Charles Fung-A-Fat S.C said that the updated legislation is slated to be on the parliamentary agenda this year. Fung-A-Fat was speaking at a panel discussion on the importance of intellectual property rights protections, held by the US Embassy, this morning, at Castellani House.

Parliamentary Counsel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs Charles Fung-A-Fat S.C.
Parliamentary Counsel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs Charles Fung-A-Fat S.C.

Senior Counsel Fung-A-Fat explained that the draft legislation prepared in 2005, was more “modern compared to other Caribbean drafts,” at that time.

The panellists also included Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes, Chairman of the National Communication Board, Enrico Woolford, Cultural Advisor to the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson, Head of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Vishu Doerga, Executive Member of the Guyana Women’s Artist Association Dominique Hunter, and Guyanese artistes Gavin Mendonca and Marian Williams.

Many of the panelists’ perspectives highlighted the challenges Guyanese creators, artists and business persons face because of the outdated regulation and the ways in which this can be addressed.

Minister Hughes recalled the challenges faced when she managed her own production company, prior to becoming a Minister. She spoke of the numerous copyright infringements on her productions.

Some of the wide-cross section that turned out to be part of the discussion.
Some of the wide-cross section that turned out to be part of the discussion.

Local artiste, Gavin Mendonca adding to the discussion said, “What’s lacking in Guyanese society as a whole from the chambers of parliament to homeless people is we seem to lack respect and appreciation for each other and for ourselves.” Medonca opined that there needs to be greater awareness and education of the general public on Intellectual Property Rights.

IPR is a right that is had by a person or by a company to have exclusive ownership, through patents, copyrights and trademarks. These IPRs, allow the holder to exercise a monopoly on the use of the item for a specified period. Guyana’s Copyright Act is dated 1956, and its Trademark Act and Patents and Design Act are dated 1973. Guyana joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and acceded to the Berne and Paris Conventions in late 1994.

This panel discussion is one of the many activities to raise awareness and share knowledge on the legislation and implementation of the IPR.

Source: Zanneel Williams – DPI