Blocked! - Schools want to stop illegal use of trademark

March 20, 2017
In this 2009 file photo, a woman purchases a Kingston College flag from a vendor outside the National Stadium.

Several of the prominent high schools in Jamaica will be taking strong action against the illegal use of their institutions' names and trademarks, which are being used to turnover millions of dollars in the black market.

THE STAR understands that over time, informal sales on the part of vendors and manufacturers selling paraphernalia and other items branded with some of the popular high schools have not gone down well with the institutions who have not consented to their use.

Calabar High school recently placed a trademark notice in The Sunday Gleaner.

Attorney-at-law Owen K. Ferguson told our news team that Calabar is now at an enforcement stage.

"We have taken steps to formally protect the brand, and that is by way of registration of the brand with Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO). So, we do have that registration in place and we are now at the enforcement stage, where we are taking action against identified parties as well as supporting that in public notices to all and sundry to say, this is our posture in relation to this; we are going to defend the name of the school," Ferguson said.

The attorney, who told THE STAR that he is a Calabar old boy, emphasised that although a dollar value could not easily be placed on how much money was being made on the black market, way too much was being pocketed and the school has not be benefiting from the sales.

"Those funds are not available to us because others are pouching on the name of the school, and that is something we feel very strongly about," Ferguson said, adding that those funds could be used to help provide quality education.

 

INVESTMENT

 

He told our news team that he is very clear as to the value that Calabar can add to one's life, and it's only by maximising the returns on the name that the school is going to be able to put in the kinds of investment that will yield the human capital results that they are looking for.

Meanwhile, Wayne Robinson, principal of Jamaica College, also took note of the use of the institution's brand on the black market.

When contacted, Robinson told THE STAR that the matter was on the table for discussion at their board meeting.

"Jamaica College is reviewing all issues with its trademark and will make a statement on it very shortly," he said.

According to Robinson the school is going to take a stand because, from football to athletics, JC gets nothing when the school's name is used illegally.

THE STAR was also told that the only time JC benefits is when the old boys or the PTA shop partake in the sale of school merchandise.

Kingston College's principal could not be reached.

The ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships takes place between March 28 and April 1.

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