School of Law

Natalie Corthesy

Research Topic: Intellectual Property law

Postgraduate Research Student

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Thesis title

International Intellectual Property Protection of Country Names - Balancing Nation Brands and Geographic Commons in a Competitive Global Marketplace


Professor Uma Suthersanen and Professor Spyros Maniatis.

Summary of research

This study seeks to analyse the adequacy of the existing international intellectual property protection framework for country names. The thesis deliberates on whether the investment made in nation branding and related co-branding with country names provide ample justification for heighted IP protection of country names. In particular, consideration is given to country names as a property value, and the impact of free riding on country names by business actors whose companies, products and or services have no connection with those country names. The study examines these issues with the aid of two case studies on Jamaica and Switzerland combining legal doctrinal and social science empirical methods to investigate the approaches used to protect nation brands and counteract freeriding on country names at the national level; in particular, the “Swissness” sui generis model. An assessment of the ongoing discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation on the protection of country names is also undertaken to determine the relevance of the issue globally.


Natalie is a PhD Candidate and the recipient of the Queen Mary Post Graduate Research Fund 2015-2016. She holds an LLM in Intellectual Property Law from UCL, University of London, an LLB from The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados, an LEC from the Norman Manley Law School, Jamaica and is an attorney-at-law qualified to practice in Jamaica. She is the Head of the IP Law Stream in the Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica where she has lectured for eight years, covering a wide range of subjects including tort law, criminal law, law and legal systems, employment law, industrial relations law and intellectual property law. Her affiliations include membership in the Association for Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP), the Jamaica Bar Association’s specialized committee on Intellectual Property Law, and the Intellectual Property Unit, Faculty of Law, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. Her recent publications include: Life plus 50 – Striking a balance between the term of copyright protection and Jamaica’s public domain, (October, 2012), The Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property, Vol 2. No 4, pp 329-342 (14 Pages); Challenges to Combatting Piracy and Counterfeiting in Jamaica, The World Intellectual Property Organisation – World Trade Organisation’s Colloquium Papers 2011, Geneva, Switzerland, (August, 2012), , pp 75-88 (14 Pages) and Commonwealth Caribbean Employment and Labour Law, Natalie Corthésy and Carla-Anne Harris-Roper, Routledge Cavendish, July 2014 (462 pages). Prior to focussing on her academic career, Natalie worked in the Jamaican civil service for ten years in the capacity of Legal Officer in the Ministry of Labour, Director of Copyright and Related Rights at the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office and Director of Entertainment Policy and Monitoring in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.