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Caribbean

Published on October 31st, 2013 | by Kim Boodram - Trinidad Express Newspapers

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AG: Patent for electronic pan (PHI) to reside with UWI.

The Percussive Harmonic Instrument (PHI) pan will now have a home with The University of the West Indies (UWI) in St Augustine, ending a battle for control of the patent and profits between its creators and the State. Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday announced an arbitration had been reached between the parties, and the patent for the new pan, which he said has astounding marketing potential, will reside with UWI, the professional home of Prof Brian Copeland, who spearheaded creation of the instrument. Since July 2011, the State has been locked in battle with Copeland, chairman of the Steelpan Initiative Committee, and his associates over ownership of the new electronic pan

Copeland and company had claimed rights to the patent, saying the pan was invented by them and $33 million allotted to the project by the State was gratuitous and was not to be sought by the giver. Copeland is also part of the former board of special purposes company e-Teck, which is being sued by the State for the mismanagement of funds. Arbitration was reached in July, Ramlogan said, speaking at a media conference after Divali celebrations at the Office of the Attorney General at St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.
With the patent held on trust for the Government by UWI, profits coming out of the sale and marketing of the pan will now be split in thirds among Copeland and associates, UWI and the State, Ramlogan said

“The pan can’t be owned by any one individual,” Ramlogan said, adding that public funds were spent and there has still been no information forthcoming on how and why funds were advanced to the Steelpan Initiative Committee. Of the funds advanced, $12 million was spent exclusively on the creation of the pan. As part of the arbitration, UWI is mandated to form a company that will oversee the sale and marketing of the PHI. The board of the company is to be comprised of equal representation from the State, UWI and the instrument’s innovators. Ramlogan said the rights of the public will be represented in the company by UWI and the Office of the Attorney General. “This is a resounding success for the people of the country,” Ramlogan said.  Speaking on a court ruling earlier this week that the State is free to pursue legal proceedings against the former board of e-Teck, Ramlogan said he hoped the judiciary would treat expeditiously with this and similar matters regarding public resources.

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