Appropriate policy needed to protect intellectual property
Bangladesh needs to have the appropriate policy for intellectual property (IP) protection, the legal framework of which is still incomplete, to encourage innovation and attract foreign investment, experts said yesterday.
The key challenge for protecting IP rights in the country lies in strengthening the IP system, including the establishment of a policy and legal framework, they said.
The remarks came at a virtual panel discussion titled "Intellectual Property Rights - Protection and Practices in Bangladesh" organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham). They said the IP rights provide further impetus to innovation in that they require an inventor who seeks time-limited protection to publish the knowledge embodied in a product or process.
The intellectual property rights (IPR) in Bangladesh face several challenges when it comes to ensuring appropriate protection, said AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed.
"Relevant IPR law related statutes are in place, along with the international treaties that Bangladesh is a signatory to, which collectively form the IPR legal framework," he said.
"However, the overall importance for the IPR protection, encouraging innovation and technology transfer and the level of awareness of the stakeholders need to be strengthened," said Ahmed.
He said challenges were inevitable but everyone needs to act and work together towards a common goal for creating an effective and stronger IPR regime in Bangladesh.
It can bolster chances for attracting more foreign investments, encouraging and fostering innovations and generating new employment opportunities which will help attain GDP growth and further advancement of the economy, he said.
"We are attending a virtual discussion during the pandemic thanks to technological innovation. Protection of IP rights is key to fostering such innovation and creativity," said JoAnne Wagner, chargé d'affaires at the US embassy in Bangladesh.
She said there were allegations from big brands that the IP rights have been violated in Bangladesh and it was really harmful for the country's reputation.
The chamber laid emphasis on formal, semi-formal and informal protection practices of intellectual output to enhance awareness and education on the IPR and academic institutions and publicly funded research laboratories as the forefront of knowledge creation and innovation.
It highlighted leveraging intellectual property rights to create a niche and gain a competitive edge for start-ups and individual innovators.
The chamber suggested marking a specific period as a "Decade of Innovation" and developing a national framework for creation and protection of the IPRs commensurate with global standards.
It also recommended forming a national and sectoral innovation council to create a roadmap, and strengthening the prominent entities involved in creation, protection and commercialisation of the IPRs and the institutional framework.
Other recommendations include setting up an inter-ministerial committee on the enforcement of the IPR laws, a copyright enforcement advisory council, an intellectual property appellate board and a centrally managed national intellectual property enforcement taskforce.
It also proposed strengthening of the IP stakeholders of Bangladesh and the IPR committees.
Md Abdus Sattar, registrar at the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, and John Cabeca, IP counsellor for South Asia at United States Patent and Trademark Office, also spoke.
Syed Mohammad Kamal, vice president of the AmCham and country manager of Mastercard Bangladesh, moderated the session while Barrister ABM Hamidul Mishbah, managing partner at Old Bailey Chambers and an AmCham member, was the keynote speaker.