After the successes of Jamdanee sharee and Ilish, Bangladesh will receive Geographical Indication (GI) certifications for more products including Fazli mango, Langra mango, Kataribhog rice, Kalijira rice and honey from the Sundarbans.
According to the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT), they have already received 25 applications for 22 different products originating in 15 districts.
“All applications are under process now and once it is complete, we will issue a gazette notification for each of them separately,” said Md Sanowar Hossain, registrar of DPDT.
On November 17, 2016, the government certified Jamdanee sharee as the first GI product in Bangladesh under the Geographical Indication Act 2013.
On June 1, the government issued a gazette notification announcing Ilish as the other GI product in Bangladesh.
As per the rule, any person or organisation from across the world can raise objection against the notification within two months of the gazette notification.
According to the Geographical Indicative Products (Registration and Protection) Act 2013, if someone wants to claim a certified GI product as their own or has a complaint against the decision, they have to lodge the complaint within two months of the gazette notification. Otherwise the decision will be granted.
“As no complaints or objections have been lodged against the certification, Ilish can now be considered a Bangladeshi GI product,” Sanowar Hossain said.
According to the act, geographical indication (GI) is a sign which defines the source and contains the goodwill of a product that originated in a particular area, like Ilish from Padma, chamcham from Tangail and kataribhog from Dinajpur.
The objective of introducing the act was to protect the interest of producers by allowing them to use a particular sign through registration.
The validity of a particular registered GI product will remain for five years. The producer will have to apply for re-registration after the validity expires.
Regarding the applications under process, the registrar told the Dhaka Tribune: “An application does not ensure that all of them will get registered. We have to ensure that the products have the specific characteristic and the unique quality.”
Earlier, Bangladesh formulated an ordinance named Geographical Indications of Goods (registration and protection) Ordinance 2008, which identified 66 products as the country’s GI products.
Of them, three were fish, eight were vegetables, 14 were agricultural products, 48 were food items and 18 were other products including Jamdani Saree and Nakshi Kantha.
The government formulated the GI Act 2013 in line with the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement signed on January 1, 1995 among the World Trade Organisation and member nations.
Regarding the process of getting certified as a GI product from Bangladesh, the DPDT registrar said: “Applying for GI certification is not an easy process. The applicant has to show the historical background of the product like ancient documents and the product’s uniqueness, which is difficult.”
For instance, he said that Department of Fisheries took around a year to submit the application for Ilish.
Registering a particular product like Jamdani with a GI sign would benefit producers by giving them more financial and business opportunities due to its goodwill.
Bangladesh has already lost its famous products like Nakshi Kantha and Fazli mango for failing to pass the law in due time.
Asked about the GI products that India has already registered as its own, Registrar Sanowar said Bangladesh could also register those products because of their origin and market them with the GI sign.
According to India’s Geographical Indications Registry, Nakshi Kantha was registered as a GI product from the country in 2008, and Fazli Mango and Jamdani Saree in 2009.
The registry refers to Jamdani Saree as “Uppada Jamdani Saree” – a handicraft item produced in its Andhra Pradesh state, Nakshi Kantha produced in West Bengal and Fazli mango grown in the Malda district of West Bengal state.
However, Bangladesh has registered Jamdanee with the name of ‘Jamdanee’.