Dr. Beverly Morgan of The Competitiveness Company
Head of The Competitiveness Company, Dr. Beverly Morgan talks to itzcaribbean about Collective Marks and Certification Marks for Jamaican products.
Dr. Morgan is playing a key role in key role in promoting productivity growth and improved competitiveness in Jamaica. She holds a Ph.D. in Business and has been working closely with small businesses and trade.
Can you explain the main objectives and why is it so important to promote intellectual property and certify products under trademarks?
Let me begin with an explanation of what Intellectual Property means – It is a collective term used to describe new ideas, inventions, designs, writings, films that are protected by copyrights, patents, trademark, industrial designs etc.
Many exporters become involved in the export process and then realize that their products are being counterfeited or imitated, or conversely that they are being accused of infringement by other persons in the marketplace. It is therefore as important to have an export plan as it is to have your rights protected.
Also, in the current business environment, particularly in developing countries like Jamaica, MSMEs need to find ways to differentiate their products in order to attract potential consumers, while remaining competitive. Intellectual Property protection and specifically trademarks, offer these companies such an opportunity thereby enabling them to position their unique products and services in international marketplaces without constant anxiety about infringement. For small countries with limited production runs it is particularly important to have the protection that enables differentiation and allows small firms to attract premium prices from the upper ends of the consumer market.
So the main objectives then for these trademarks are to attract premium prices for our exports and to protect local manufacturers.
In a country like Jamaica, there are no large volumes to export, so we must rely on niche markets and ensure that the products being sold in the export market are protected. That is where trademarks come in.
There are two types of trademarks being used by The Competitiveness Company – Collective Marks and Certification Marks.
Collective Marks are trademarks owned by an association, the use of which must comport with conditions laid down by that association. A Collective Mark is one which distinguishes goods or services of members of the association which owns the Collective Mark from those of other undertakings. The four Collective Marks are owned by the Jamaica Exporters Association, with whom we are affiliated. They have mandated us to manage these four Marks on their behalf.
The remaining seven Marks are owned and managed by The Competitiveness Company.
Certification Marks serve to distinguish goods or services which are certified by an undertaking (in respect of origin, material, mode of manufacture or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics) from those which are not certified.
A Certification Mark can indicate: • geographical origin • method of manufacture • materials of constructions • quality assurance• any definable characteristic of the good or service in question. The CC’s Marks will certify all of the above.
What kind of products will gain the TCC’s certification and collective marks and why?
Here are the kinds of products which will receive certification:
Certification Marks Sauces & Spices Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauces Honey Processed Ackees Generic
Sauces & Spices This mark covers Jerk seasoning and Jerk sauces. Any Good bearing this Mark must contain certain key ingredients which are of wholly Jamaican origin and must be manufactured in Jamaica in conformity with the Standards outlined in the Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Certification Programme to ensure that it is safe, wholesome, unadulterated, of premium quality and authentically Jamaican.
Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauces This mark covers hot pepper sauces. Any Good bearing this Mark must have certain key ingredients which are of wholly Jamaican origin and must be manufactured in Jamaica in conformity with the Standards outlined in the Jamaican Sauces Certification Programme to ensure that they are safe, wholesome, unadulterated of premium quality and authentically Jamaican.
Honey This mark covers honey and any sauces or condiments derived from honey. Any Good bearing this Mark must be entirely of Jamaican origin and manufactured in Jamaica in conformity with the Standards outlined in the Jamaican Honey Certification Programme to ensure that it is safe, wholesome, unadulterated, of premium quality and authentically Jamaican.
Processed Ackees This mark covers Ackee which is preserved, processed, frozen and/or cooked. Any Good bearing this Mark must consist of Ackee that is grown, harvested and produced in Jamaica in conformity with the Standards outlined in the Jamaican Ackee Certification Programme to ensure it is safe, wholesome, unadulterated, of premium quality and authentically Jamaican.
Generic This mark covers various types of goods, namely preserved, dried, processed, frozen and cooked fruits and vegetables, jellies, jams, compotes; preparations made from cereals, bread, (including flatbread and bammies) pastry and confectionery, sauces (condiments), spices, treacle; fresh fruits and vegetables; beers, mineral and aerated water and other non alcoholic drinks; fruit drinks and fruit juices, syrups and other preparations for making beverages. Note however that this mark is not intended to cover Ackee, Honey, Jerk Seasoning, Jerk Sauces or Pepper Sauces.
Any Good bearing this Mark must be of Jamaican origin and must be manufactured in Jamaica in conformity with the Standards outlined in the Jamaican Certification Programme covering the particular Good to ensure that it is safe, wholesome, unadulterated, of premium quality and authentically Jamaican.
Non-Traditional Tourism This mark covers Tourism services of the non-traditional type such as tour operators, bed and breakfast, small hoteliers, events planning etc.
Collective Marks The four Collective Marks, owned by the Jamaica Exporters’ Association and managed by The Competitiveness Company are:
Boutique Agribusiness This mark covers various goods, such as, soaps; perfumery, essential oils, cosmetics, hair lotions; dentifrices; cocoa products, such as cocoa butter for cosmetic purposes, natural cocoa butter based personal care products, such as, body lotions, shower gels, soaps, body polish, body and foot scrub and non medicated skin creams; medicated confectionery; pharmaceutical and veterinary preparations; sanitary preparations for medical purposes; dietetic substances adapted for medical use, food for babies; plasters, materials for dressings; dental wax; disinfectants; preparations for destroying vermin; fungicides, herbicides; Meat, fish, poultry and game; meat extracts; preserved, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; jellies, jams, compotes; eggs, milk and milk products; edible oils and fats; Coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, tapioca, sago, artificial coffee; flour and preparations made from cereals, bread, pastry and confectionery, ices; honey, treacle; yeast, baking powder; salt, mustard; vinegar, sauces (condiments); spices; ice; Agricultural, horticultural and forestry products and grains such as, unprocessed grain, agricultural seeds, spores and spawn for agricultural purposes, sugar cane, raw timber, unprocessed timber, living trees, shrubs, live bushes; live animals; plant and fruit seeds, crop seeds, herb seeds for planting, seeds for flowers, seeds for horticultural purposes, unprocessed edible seeds, natural plants and flowers; foodstuffs for animals; malt.
Fresh Produce This mark covers fresh fruits and vegetables, tinned vegetables, fruit salads, tinned and frosted fruits, fruit pulp and starchy foods.
Visual Arts This mark covers Art, works of art (of wood, wax, plaster or plastic); Ceramic glazings, jewelry and precious stones; unworked or semi worked glass; glassware; porcelain and earth ware; porcelain doorknobs, figures of porcelain, porcelain plaques; earthenware mugs and basins; ceramic figurines; paints, varnishes and lacquers for handicrafts and arts, dyestuffs for clothing, printed matter, photographs, clothing, footwear, headgear.
Wearable Art This mark covers earrings; clothing, footwear, headgear; embroidery and embroidery for garments, embroidery designs and embroidery frames, embroidery design patterns, printed instructional materials on the subject of art, fashion and clothing design, embroidering, knitting and sewing; printed patterns.
How can having the TCC’s support and a strong brand help the future of Jamaican products and small business?
The Competitiveness Company is insistent that the good name of Jamaican products is protected, while they are allowed to attract premium prices for their exports. What are the benefits to be gained from using these Marks?
Avoiding unfair competition. There are numerous instances of genuine Jamaican products of high quality having to compete unfairly with products & services from other parts of the world which claim to be Jamaican in origin.
Increase Export Earnings. Authentic Jamaican products & services will garner higher prices and experience increased demand in international and local markets.
Marketing and Promotion. The reliance on a Mark will save small enterprises on the costs of marketing and promoting their products & services on their own.
Benefit from Economies of Scale. Several small businesses with Marks can supply a market which is too large for any one small enterprise.
Tell us more about the importance of having a Jamaican brand on the global market place?
As you know, the Jamaican brand already exists in the global market place – whether it is through Reggae, Ska or Dancehall music, or athletics – everyone knows Jerk as uniquely Jamaican, not to mention our intellectual and sporting genius.
Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not only about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting our buyers to be assured that our products represent consistent, first class quality.
A strong brand is invaluable to a small economy like ours. We need to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building our brand. Each one is a piece of Jamaica that we want to be known worldwide.
How does this strategy translate to day to day trade and what will it mean for Jamaican businesses?
In terms of the day-to-day experience for our producers, it must mean better prices for their products. Over time, it should also mean increased volumes in exports, resulting in more employment for our people. At the end of the day.. it should make our people rich!
Another advantage to using the mark is conflict avoidance. People want to make money. They want to avoid trouble. By using the mark, you keep imposters away from your product. v Increased customer loyalty largely due to their ability to recognize the product and distinguish it from the products of competitors.
The confidence that buyers will have in knowing that they are buying products that are backed by systems of standards and authenticity will be increased.
The benefits of Collective Action: The strategy should address difficulties in marketing and advertising products or services abroad in the absence of a suitable symbol or easy identifier that links our Jamaican products or services with our MSMEs, since marketing an unbranded product is inherently much more difficult.
Will this affect businesses and trade in the UK?
I am afraid we do not have the volumes or prices which would upset or even begin to dent the UK market, but it must mean that those distributors and retailers now selling Jamaican products in the UK will also extensively benefit from the increased sales of authentic, iconically Jamaican products and services. So yes, there is a positive benefit to the UK trade.
Will the Marks bring any benefits for customers?
Consumers can save time by identifying their needed products and information quickly, and ordering them automatically with as little interruption to their work flow as possible.
Consumers will be able to achieve additional savings by ordering their products on line.
Thirdly, a trademark should guarantee consistent quality. This allows consumers to associate goods or services offered under a particular trademark with a standard of quality. It gives consumers the comfort of knowing that any goods or services purchased under the same trademark as previous goods or services will be of the same general quality.
Finally, a trademark is a conduit for effective advertising. Not only can the trademark itself be the word, design, or device used in advertising, but the goods and services bearing that trademark act as advertisements themselves. For example, your prominently displayed trademark on the packaging of your product builds the association between your trademark and your company in the minds of consumers.
Having achieved a great deal of success in your business career already, what does being involved in this process mean to you personally?
You could say this is my passion: a culmination of all that I have wanted for my country – to ensure our producers are getting good prices for their unique products and are on their way to becoming better off. Any small part which I played in this process will satisfy me even more when I hear that the exports of products/services which use these Marks have grown by leaps and bounds. I hope this also gives some hope to our Jamaican young people as well