The Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks has given go-ahead to 66 Jamdani weavers to use geographical indication tags to market and brand the traditional fabric at home and abroad.
Geographical indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products to certify that it possesses certain qualities for being made as per traditional methods or enjoy a certain reputation due to its geographical origin.
“We think the Jamdani weavers will get better prices for their produce thanks to the opportunity to market the fabric as a GI product of Bangladesh,” said Md Sanowar Hossain, registrar of the patents department under the industries ministry.
On October 18, the department revealed the names of the weavers based mostly in Rupganj, Narayanganj through a notification, GI Authorised Users Journal.
The local patent authority will now wait two months to see if there is any objection regarding the names of the authorised users of GI.
If there is no objection, the patents department will issue authorised user certificates to the weavers to use the GI logo, according to Hossain.
The patents department issued the notification nearly a year after it registered Jamdani as a GI product of Bangladesh and handed over the ownership of Jamdani's GI to the state-run Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC).
On behalf of the Jamdani weavers, the BSCIC applied for the registration in September 2015, a move that came a few years after India registered “Uppada Jamdani” sari as a GI product.
The GI registration cleared much of the concerns that India's move might cause Bangladesh to lose its GI recognition for Jamdani despite having a century-old tradition of weaving the fabric in Dhaka.
Bangladesh's patents authority, which later recognised hilsa as a GI product of the country, also received applications from weavers through BSCIC for permission to be the authorised users of the GI tag on Jamdani.
The officials of the patents department said more weavers would be recognised if they apply through BSCIC.
“We are encouraging other weavers to become authorised users of GI for Jamdani so that they brand our traditional fabric better worldwide,” said Shah Nuruzzaman, general manager for marketing at BSCIC.
The Jamdani producers would have to first register with BSCIC before seeking permission to become authorised users of the GI, he said.
“We asked field offices to award registration to small weavers without harassment.”
Of the 5,679 Jamdani weavers, nearly 3,000 have looms of their own while the rest work for others in factories, said Nuruzzaman.
Bangladesh produces 75,000 pieces of Jamdani saris a year, according to the BSCIC official.
The patents department has received applications for GI registration of 27 products, including Jamdani and hilsa, from various districts.
These include Chapainawabganj's Khirsa and Langra mango varieties, Rangpur's Harivanga mango variety, Rajshahi's Fazli mango variety, Dinajpur's Kataribhog rice and Mymensingh's Kalijira rice, Moulvibazar's incense, Sundarbans honey and Porabari's Chamcham sweetmeat and Rajshahi silk.
Of the applications, work on the GI registration for Khirsa mango variety is at the final stage, said a senior official of patents department.
The official stressed taking measures to control quality of GI products for the benefit of buyers and sellers.