Intellectual property rights: WTO extends exemption period until 2021
Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

The overall economy of Bangladesh would benefit as whoever in Bangladesh uses intellectual property rights will not have to pay the royalty for the technology, said the jubilant ambassador

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Bangladesh does not need to pay for intellectual property rights until 2021 as the World Trade Organisation has decided to extend the exemption period of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) for eight years.

“The TRIPS-Council has decided about it today,” Ambassador of the permanent mission of Bangladesh to the UN office in Geneva Md Abdul Hannan told the Dhaka Tribune over telephone yesterday.

The overall economy of Bangladesh would benefit as whoever in Bangladesh uses intellectual property rights will not have to pay the royalty for the technology, said the jubilant ambassador.

Being a poor country, it is not possible for Bangladesh to acquire technology by spending millions of dollars, he said.

“We do not have the capacity to bear the tech-related cost and it will give us a breathing space to prepare ourselves to face the post-exemption period,” he added.

The WTO-TRIPS Council yesterday adopted the decision, granting the least developed countries an eight-year extension of the transition period.

When the WTO was formed all the LDCs were given 10 years’ transition period and it was extended for another seven and a half years in 2005, which was supposed to end this June, Hannan said.

“But with the extension, eight more years are given so that the LDCs can increase their capacity to comply with the TRIPS agreement,” he said.

He explained that the agreement has some compliance clauses and Bangladesh and other LDCs do not need to comply with those until 2021.

The council took the decision in line with the WTO ministerial decision made in 2011 and negotiation had continued since January 2013 which concluded yesterday, Hannan said.

About the intellectual properties rights in pharmaceutical sector, he said the exemption would continue until 2015 and the general exemption does not have any impact on it.

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