IP and Carnival

Feb 21, 2014
A patent is an exclusive right granted by the government to an individual for his/her invention. For one to attain a patent for their invention it must be new, not easily reproduced and it must work. In order to gain exclusive rights to your invention, the inventor must disclose in full, the details of the invention in a published document. Once a patent is applied for, the exclusive right lasts 20 years. Additionally, once a patent is granted, it can be made, used, distributed, imported and sold by the owner solely during the 20 year period, then the technology falls into the public domain for the public to use. ©

Application to carnival
1.    One is not forced to apply for a patent, however, if the invention is not protected it therefore runs the risk of it being copied and exploited by others. For example, the addition of supporting legs to stilts and adding ridges to the body of them which would allow “Moko Jumbies” to dismount from them easily. This could be considered something innovative and potentially patentable and hence the inventor should apply for a patent in order to be recognised as the creator and gain the opportunity for fair economic rewards.

2.    A steel pan player would want an accessible stand that can be used almost anywhere and also be easy to “tote.” He has an idea of the invention he wants to create and protect, but before he does that he should first make use of the patent information services offered by the Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago. By doing this, one will gain knowledge of existing steel pan inventions that have patents currently being enforced or ones that have expired. Once the patent is enforced, no-one else can use the invention or even try to protect something of such similarity, but when the period has expired, anyone is allowed to make use of the invention without having to pay royalties and without any restrictions.

3.    A well-known “tassa” group has invested their time in creating a diverse model of drums that can be tuned through electricity rather than an open flame. They are interested in applying for a patent so that they can protect their invention. In order for it to be deemed patentable it must be new meaning it must not already exist, not easily reproduced and it must be functional.





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All rights reserved.

Criminal penalties for Intellectual Property Rights Infringement


Maximum Penalty (TT Dollars)

Copyright and Related Rights incl. databases

$250,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Topography of Integrated Circuits

$10,000.00 or 5 years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Trade Mark (incl. company names represented in a special or particular manner)

$10,000.00 or 6 months imprisonment (summary conviction); $40,000.00 or 10 years imprisonment (indictment)

Industrial Design

$10,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Patent and Utility Model

$10,000.00 (summary conviction).

Falsification of patent register: $20,000.00 (summary conviction) or $40,000.00 or ten years imprisonment (indictment)

Geographical Indications

$8,000.00 or three years imprisonment (summary conviction)

Plant Variety

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim of patent rights

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)

Unauthorised claim that a patent has been applied for

$10,000.00 (summary conviction)


The Copyright Infringement Ship

Piracy Ship

Click here to download image.



Piracy occurs when any of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights are violated.

Note 14 of the TRIPS Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) provides the following interpretation:

(a) “counterfeit trademark goods” shall mean any goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation;

(b) “pirated copyright goods” shall mean any goods which are copies made without the consent of the right holder or person duly authorized by the right holder in the country of production and which are made directly or indirectly from an article where the making of that copy would have constituted an infringement of a copyright or a related right under the law of the country of importation.

The maximum penalty for copyright infringement is $250,000 or ten years imprisonment. The above pirate ship illustrates some common examples of piracy.