Protecting the trademark and intellectual property rights of indigenous artists and traditional cultural practitioners is a priority for the Guam Trademark Commission, but since it was established several years ago, it has yet to come up with statutory guidelines for this purpose.
During a meeting convened by the legislative committee on cultural affairs this week, Senator Kelly Marsh Taitano reminded the commission of the statutory gaps that would need to be addressed before the commission can move forward.
The senator noted that the body was established to develop two laws – the “Guam Trademark and Intellectual Property Rights Act” and the “Guam Cultural Trademark Act.”
Without these two guidelines, Master of Chamorro Dance Frank Rabon asked the commission if there are interim tools in place while waiting for the laws to be developed and passed.
“What about the cultural producers? Where would they go? I hear the Guam product seal is a very general application so long as it abides by what they stipulate. The trademark commission has not been in effect at all so meanwhile, for the culture producers like myself, what tool do we have in protecting our intellectual rights and the intellectual properties that we are creating right now as we await finalization in these situations,” senator Taitano said.
During the meeting, the commission members explored several interim solutions to address the statutory gap, including the hiring of an intellectual property lawyer through the Office of the Attorney General.