Intellectual Property Rights: Challenges and opportunities

Published : 26 Apr 2023 08:52 PM

Legal protections for ideas, inventions, and other forms of intellectual property are known as intellectual property rights (IPRs). A person who owns the intellectual property has the right to decide who gets to use, copy, and distribute their creations. Protecting artists' rights while encouraging new ideas is a primary function of intellectual property law. The government of Bangladesh recognizes the importance of intellectual property rights and has taken many steps to ensure that they are respected and protected.

Every year on April 26, people worldwide commemorate Intellectual Property Rights Day to spread the word about the value of IPRs and how they foster innovation and creativity. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about the value of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in safeguarding and fostering the creation of novel ideas and technologies. This further emphasizes the significance of having robust laws and regulations in place to protect IPRs and deter their infringement. To promote a culture of creativity and innovation, World IPR Day is celebrated annually on April 26. As in previous years, "Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity" will serve as the overarching theme for IPR Days in 2023. The government of Bangladesh, like those of other countries, observes IPR Day with appropriate festivities.

Bangladesh has several laws in place to safeguard intellectual property, including the Copyright Act, the Patents and Designs Act, and the Trademarks Act. These laws protect various intellectual property types, including works of literature and art, patents, and trademarks. The Patents and Designs Act protects inventions and industrial designs, while the Copyright Act safeguards works of literature, art, and music. Trademarks, service marks, and trade names are all safeguarded by the Trademarks Act.

Intellectual property rights in Bangladesh are in a complicated place at the moment. Despite the government's best efforts, issues still need addressing before IPRs can be fully protected and promoted. The general public and the business world's lack of understanding of intellectual property rights is a significant obstacle. As a result, there is a high infringement rate and a general lack of regard for intellectual property rights.

The sluggishness of the legal system is another issue. It can take years to conclude a dispute involving the enforcement of intellectual property rights in Bangladesh's judicial system. Creators and inventors are often dissuaded from seeking legal protection for their work because of the lengthy process involved. Small and medium-sized firms may lack the financial wherewithal to take legal action, and the legal system may be unavailable.

It's also possible that IPR rules vary widely from one country to another. Researchers and investors working in different jurisdictions or trying to grow globally may find this situation confusing and unsettling. Because of the confusing nature of intellectual property rights (IPR) law and regulation, many people are unaware of or misinformed about IPRs.

In addition, some people and businesses may choose to ignore IPRs to advance their own interests. They may wrongly assume that they can avoid getting caught infringing on others' IPRs because of the substantial costs involved. This disregard for IPRs can contribute to the spread of ignorance about their significance.

In spite of these setbacks, the Bangladesh government has taken several measures to advance and safeguard the country's IP system. The implementation of the National Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy in 2018 was a significant development. The policy aims to establish conditions favorable to both the development and safety of intellectual property rights in Bangladesh.

Promoting innovation and creativity are just two of the many goals identified by the IPR policy, along with raising public understanding of the need to protect intellectual property. The policy's overarching goal is to strengthen the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights across all sectors of society, including government, academia, and the commercial sector.

Bangladesh may take advantage of several different avenues for fostering innovation, creativity, and economic growth thanks to IPRs. The number of patents, trademarks, and copyrights registered in Bangladesh has recently increased due to the country's efforts to enhance its IPR laws and regulations. Some of the benefits that intellectual property rights can provide to Bangladesh are as follows:

Strong IPR laws can provide the creators of novel ideas and inventions with protection, which can be a powerful incentive for their development and use. This has the potential to inspire the creation of innovative goods, services, and technologies that improve people's lives and boost the economy. However, if investors know their intellectual property will be safe in Bangladesh, they may be more inclined to set up shop there. This has the potential to encourage international investment and the sharing of technologies, both of which contribute to economic expansion.

To stay competitive, many small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) rely heavily on internal innovation and the work of outside creatives. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from a level playing field in the marketplace when it comes to protecting their intellectual property if they have access to a robust IPR framework. By assuring foreign companies that their intellectual property will be protected in Bangladesh, effective IPR laws and regulations help boost exports from the country. This has the potential to boost trade and stimulate the economy. Intellectual property rights are becoming more critical than ever as our society becomes more digital and knowledge-based. A robust IPR framework can aid Bangladesh's efforts to establish a knowledge-based economy capable of competing globally.

Bangladesh's government recognizes the importance of IPRs and has set up several institutions to promote and protect these rights. The DPDT (Department of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks) issues and registers patents, designs, and trademarks in Bangladesh. The Copyright Office is in charge of the registration and defense of intellectual property. The government also set up the Intellectual Property Rights Tribunal to hear cases concerning IP rights.

The government has also taken measures to educate citizens and business owners about intellectual property rights. The DPDT frequently hosts workshops and training sessions to inform the public about their rights to intellectual property. In addition, the government has initiated a countrywide education and advocacy campaign for IP rights.

However, much more work has to be done. Bangladesh must continue its outreach campaign on IP rights and work to improve IPR enforcement in the country's judicial system. The government could also strive toward making innovation and creativity more conducive by offering incentives for research and development. In conclusion, Bangladesh may take advantage of many different avenues to foster innovation, creativity, and economic progress thanks to IPRs. Bangladesh may take the lead in regional innovation and creativity by bolstering its IPR laws and regulations and raising public awareness of the significance of IPR protection.

Pranab Kumar Panday is a Professor at the Department

of Public Administration, University of Rajshahi