Intellectual Property Law In Bangladesh
By FM Associates (A Full Serviced Law Firm in Bangladesh)
The word Intellectual property (IP) denotes the creations of the mind, such as literary and artistic works; inventions; designs; symbols, names and images used in commercial ventures. With the rapid expansion of world economy keeping pace with the globalization, intellectual property law in Bangladesh and the corresponding rights over intellectual property law in Bangladesh have become an absolute asset to the economic, social and technological development of any country.
IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyrights and trademarks, geographical indications, utility model, trade secret which allow people to earn recognition or financial absolute benefit from what they have invented or created. The IP system aims to adopt a creative and innovative environment which can flourish maintaining a right balance between the interests of the innovators and the wider public interest.
Intellectual Property law in Bangladesh is now an international concern because of the effect of globalization in the commercial environment. Bangladesh took part in the convention founding the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on May 11, 1985. Bangladesh is a member of the Paris Convention regarding the Protection of Industrial Property in 1991 and of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works in 1999. Besides, our country is a signatory of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which came into action on January 1, 1995. The TRIPS Agreement sets comprehensive, compulsory and common standards for all countries following the dispute settlement system of the WTO. Being a member of Least Developed Countries (LDC), Bangladesh is exercising the extended transition period to bring herself into compliance with their regulations.
An industrial design creates the ornamental or aesthetic feature of an object. A design may comprise of three-dimensional structures, such as the shape or exterior of an object, or of two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color.
Industrial design is suitable for registration if an invention is new, original and unique with its characteristics. The item must not be a combination of known or identical and similar designs to existing products. Likewise, the invention must also be isolated from the public, until the registration is finished. According to the Patents and Designs Act 1911, registration of industrial design inventions is barred if they are connected to purely functional designs, certain colors and do not possess visual appearance. Besides, registered items must be free from aspects that are contrary to public order and ethics, and exploit official symbols or emblems so that the innovations are not excluded from the registration list.
To protect his industrial design article, an author of the design or his employer must file an application form with the Department of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. Usually, the applicant needs to provide his personal information, a sample of the invention, a copy of the drawings and photo of the concerned invention, if it is required. Furthermore, an application form must reflect a full and complete description of the invention design, which will be totally clear to any skilled professional working in the industrial design area.
After examining the application as per the law, a registration certificate will be issued to the applicant by the registrar which grant the certificate holder with an exclusive right stopping unauthorized firms from illegal actions in relation to copying, making, selling and imitating products which contain the registered design. In addition, holders can also authorize other third parties to use the registered design and bring lawsuits against those firms which exploit the design without owner’s permission.
In Bangladesh, a term of industrial design registration initially is up to five years from the date of registering and it may be renewed for once in every 5 years up to 15 years; however, the renewal fee should be submitted before the ending of the final day.
Intellectual Property (IP) law in Bangladesh is administered by two separate ministries. There are two offices which are empowered for IP matters under the ministries i.e. 1. the Department of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (DPDT) under the Ministry of Industries (MOI). The DPDT is affiliated to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); 2. The Copyright Office under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs (MOCA). The Copyright Office receives continuous support from the WTO, WIPO, and UNESCO for enhancing the copyright system.
Trademark | Intellectual Property Law in Bangladesh
A trademark is a sign which can distinguish the products or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. In the ancient times, craftsmen used to put their signature or "mark" on their goods. The Trademark Act 2009 & Trademark Rules 2015 are the key guideline in regards to Trademark. There are several symbols to address the types of a trademark: TM – is used for an unregistered trademark to promote or brand products; SM – is used for an unregistered service mark to promote or brand services; ® – is used for a registered trademark. One can apply for the trademark after searching the availability of the name. The Registrar, upon the receipt of the application, issues Official Filing Receipt containing the application number, date of application, the trademark etc. The registrar inspects the trademark for 2 issues: a) distinctiveness and b) general compliance with the law. Upon the satisfaction of the requirements, the registrar may issue a Letter of Acceptance for the mark to be advertised in the Trade Marks Journal for the purpose of receiving objections in regards to the concerned trademark.
Any person may give notice of Opposition to the Registrar within two months from the date of the publication on the journal. However, if no objection is received at the expiration of the opposition period or the opposition is determined and resolved in favor of the Applicant, the Registrar is responsible to issue a Certificate of Registration for the trademark on payment of the prescribed fee. A registered trademark in Bangladesh is valid for an initial period of seven (7) years from the date of filing the registration and renewable thereafter for successive periods of Ten (10) years.
The word ‘Copyright’ is considered as an important sector of law concerning intellectual property law in Bangladesh, which describes the rights that the creators have over their literary and artistic works. Copyright usually covers the works ranging from books, sound recordings, paintings, sculpture, engraving and films, to computer programs, databases, advertisements, maps and technical drawings.
Copyright act 2000 as amended 2005 & Copyright Rules 2010 are the key guidelines in regards to Copyright law in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Copyright Office is a quasi-judicial organization.
It is not mandatory to register the copyright with the Copyright office; however, the registration works as an absolute evidence to be used in a legal proceeding if that particular creation is used by another party without the owners’ permission.
The owner of copyright may transfer the copyright or grant any interest in the copyright through providing license. The Licenses may also be granted by the Copyright Board of Bangladesh.
Copyright in relation to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work published within the life time of the author exists until 60 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies. However, the copyright in a cinematographic film, a sound recording, a computer programme, a photograph, or a work of the Government or an international organization exists 60 years beginning from the publication of the work.
The owner of copyright is entitled to certain civil remedies (injunction, damages, accounts) when the copyright is infringed. The Jurisdiction lies with the court of District Judge of the place where the person, bringing the lawsuit, resides or carries on business. Infringing copies may be seized by the police and might be barred from import.
Usually, the Court of Sessions deals with the Copyright infringement if there is any criminal charge to that effect.
Geographical indications and designations of origin are signs used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities, a status or characteristics that are principally available to that place of origin. In the most scenario, a geographical indication includes the name of the place of origin of the goods. Geographical Indication Goods (Registration & Protection) Act 2013 & Geographical Indication Goods Rules 2015 are the key guidelines for the Geographical Indication in Bangladesh. As per the Act, Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks will be the concerned authority for geographical indication.
To register a product, the association or the co-operative for a product will have to apply to register a product. Apparently, no individual can register a geographically indicated product. The term of validation of the concerned registered GI product will remain for five years. The producer would have to apply for re-registering after the expiration of the validity.
Patent & Design
An exclusive right of patent is usually granted for an invention. Usually, a patent allows the patent owner with the right to take the decision as to how - or whether - the invention can be used by others. In exchange for this exclusive right, the patent owner makes technical data available in public about the invention. The law of patent in Bangladesh is guided by the Patents and Designs Act, 1911 and the Patent and Design Rules, 1933. In order to be patentable, an invention should relate to a manner of manufacture which is novel after coming through some inventive steps and it should have a practical existence as a manner of manufacture. Besides, it must not be contrary to law or morality. Then a patentee or an entity fills in the application, containing a description of how to make and use the invention, information about the usefulness of the invention and technical problems solved by the invention. Sometimes, it’s necessary to attach the drawings demonstrating the invention. After that, a patentee has to wait for the “patent pending” period for inspection and only after a patent will be enforced.
Al Amin Rahman is a Barrister-at-Law practicing in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the Managing Partner of the law firm, FM Associates having its offices at Bangladesh, India and United Kingdom. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com