IN order to attain the benefits of modern innovations and at the same time to retain the intellectual creativity along with the sense of belongingness, a strong Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) system needs to be strengthened. Only a strong IPR system can ensure reward for the ideas of the inventors and innovators. IPR protections foster an environment in which creative and innovative industries can thrive and contribute to economic development worldwide.
However, it is very much unfortunate that in this modern world we have failed to create a strong intellectual property rights system. Most of the laws relating to intellectual property rights are outdated and often fail to address modern innovations and creatures. In addition existing laws including the draft legislation regarding patent, trademark and industrial design are not compatible with the international standards dealing with IP rights. As a result we are far away from the integration of our innovations and ideas into the global market place.
The drafted laws in relation to intellectual property rights need to be immediately passed with proper plan of action. It should also be revisited with due care and attention in order to make it more people centered. In addition, the draft laws should be redefined with a view to comply with the International instruments (as for example: TRIPS, WTO, PARIS Convention etc) dealing with various dimensions of intellectual property rights.
Laws in Bangladesh often see proper implementation rather these remain in letters without giving any benefit to the target groups. Laws should reach to the people so that they can ensure their rights through the application of law. The Legislation must be designed to ensure access for indigent, vulnerable groups and downtrodden sections of the society with particular emphasis.
Implementation of any law involves many factors as for example the role of implementing agencies, the understanding and awareness of law among the right holders and duty bearers etc. In this regard the role of the Department of Patent, Designs, and Trademarks (DPDT) is vital. The practical evidence suggests that this department is suffering from lack of resources and equipment. It often takes the help of outside examiners which remain this department far away from institutionalisation. The implementing agencies need to be equipped with trained human resources and other logistics. The beneficiaries of intellectual property rights should be empowered through the dissemination of IPR knowledge and information. Courts in Bangladesh can play pr-active role to define and interpret IPR issues by virtue of judicial activism. Courts can hold the duty bearer accountable and provide impetus to perform their respective obligations.
Another important challenge regarding implementation of IP laws is to rely on the exemption clauses in relation to pharmaceuticals and agriculture. Relying upon these temporary “exemptions” is a choice fraught with risks. An economy built on weak IPR foundations is one in which the abuse of foreign and domestic IPR occurs hand-in-hand. In order to improve the public health condition as well to ensure the farmer's rights IPR protection measures should be powered.
Lack of knowledge and information regarding IP rights among the maximum population of Bangladesh is still prevalent which makes them more indifferent to avail their entitlements in regard to their creations. In terms of creating awareness the focus on the involvement of the various communities should be prioritised. Educational policy makers, Trade bodies and Industry, Scientific community and institutions, Non Governmental institutions (NGO's) should be engaged for a well developed approach of awareness rising.
In this regard, the Intellectual Property Association of Bangladesh (IPAB) staged an announcement on April 27 for enhancing public awareness to “Stop IPR Violation, Build the Nation; Save Film Industry” while observing intellectual property day 2014. This programme is undertaken with a view to address this year's global IP day theme 'Movies: A Global Passion'. IPAB underscored the importance of Film Industry which has significant impact to the national economic development, whereas our local Film Industry is suffering from protection for many years. Like IPAB, the concerned authorities, be it government or non government organization, should come forward to aware people in regard to IP rights.
The writer works with Law Desk, The Daily Star.