Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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3-way split in royalties
The State has settled a lawsuit over the patent rights of the Percussive Harmonic Instrument (PHI-pan) with its inventor, Professor Brian Copeland, and the University of the West Indies. The announcement was made yesterday by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan after Divali celebrations at his Cabildo Chambers, Port-of-Spain, office.
Ramlogan said a settlement, which will see all three parties benefiting from the proceeds of the instrument’s future development, was reached because he was “appreciative of the creativity and innovativeness” of Copeland and did not want to “crush or in anyway stymie” the development of the national instrument.
Saying he was mindful of the need to protect the people’s interest worldwide, Ramlogan said when the matter was referred to mediation with the University of the West Indies being joined as a party to the proceedings, he agreed that instead of the State fighting for total control of the intellectual property rights to the PHI, it should be transferred to UWI to encourage it to be the “owner” and take all the necessary steps to encourage its development and evolution.
The matter was referred to mediation on July 19, 2013, after which an agreement was reached on October 4, 2013. Ramlogan said the salient points of agreement were:
1. Ownership of the patent would be transferred to the University of the West Indies, wheresoever and howsoever registered
2. UWI would incorporate a company to license the patent
3. That company is mandated to exploit the license for profits and each party would have equal representation on the board of directors of that company
4. The directors are under duty to optimise the profits of the company:
a. In the interest of the people of T&T, whose interest are represented by the AG and the UWI
b. In the interest of the inventors, namely the defendants
5. The company is mandated to enter into consultancy agreement or agreements with the defendants to complete the design of the PHI and to assist in the manufacture and marketing of the pan
6. Profits arising to the company are to be shared 33 1/3 to each of the three parties.
Saying the agreement was favourable to all parties, Ramlogan said it was the citizens who would benefit from the “creation of this modernised version of the steelpan.” “On a regional scale the UWI will have this patent registered in its name and this speaks volumes as to the creativity fostered and encouraged at this regional institution,” he said.
“And recognition is also given to the innovative and diligent efforts of the defendants, as they, too, will share in the profits derived from the commercialisation of the PHI and they will be consulted on the completion of the design of the PHI and the manufacture and marketing of the PHI.” Contacted yesterday, UWI principal Professor Clement Sankat was only willing to say he was aware an agreement had been reached but could not comment further as he was out of the country.
According to the UWI Web site, PHI merges the powerful facility of MIDI with a physical form inspired by the traditional steelpan. MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Device Interface. MIDI facilitates the communication of electronic music synthesisers over a network. Through MIDI, the PHI can be amplified, just like any electronic instrument available on the market—it can be easily made as loud as desired.
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