Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
Intellectual Property Office - Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago

Patents and Carnival

Patents and Carnival

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.