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Dhaka Tribune

Experts: Protecting IPR crucial for attracting foreign investment

They also said that a robust IP regime will be pivotal as Bangladesh transitioned from an LDC in 2026

Update : 30 Nov 2023, 06:21 PM

Experts at a seminar on Thursday said that protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights (IPR) was crucial for attracting foreign investors and influencing market entry decisions.

They also said that a robust IP regime will be pivotal as Bangladesh transitioned from an LDC in 2026.

They said this while speaking at a seminar titled “IPR Protection & Practices: Driving Economic Growth in Bangladesh”, organized by American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) in the capital.

 AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed said that intellectual property (IP) played a crucial role in economic growth and innovation in today's knowledge-driven economy.

As part of the LDC bloc in Bangladesh, special access to trade-related intellectual property rights (Trips) has significantly impacted industries, particularly the pharmaceutical sector.

Leveraging the patent waiver, Bangladesh achieved self-sufficiency in pharmaceuticals, exporting to over 100 countries.

However, as the opportunities will be eliminated after LDC graduation, a robust IP regime becomes pivotal for Bangladesh.

“At AmCham, we strongly support a strengthened IPR regime as a cornerstone for Bangladesh's economic growth and foreign investment,” he also said.

A framework fostering knowledge sharing, technology transfer, and the development of higher value-added products and services will position Bangladesh as an attractive destination for global business.

AmCham proposed the designation of a dedicated "Decade of Innovation,” suggesting the establishment of both a national and sectoral innovation council tasked with developing a strategic roadmap.

They also suggested reinforcing key entities responsible for creating, protecting, and commercializing IPR, bolstering the overall institutional framework along with the creation of an inter-ministerial committee dedicated to enforcing IPR laws.

“We are also forming a copyright enforcement advisory council, establishing an intellectual property appellate board, and implementing a centrally managed national intellectual property enforcement task force,” he added.

IPR and Trips both crucial

In her speech as chief guest, Zakia Sultana, industries secretary, said that As Bangladesh is approaching graduation from its Least Developed Country (LDC) status in 2026, the role of IPR will be very critical.

The post-graduation landscape introduces challenges with the diminishing flexibilities under the Trips agreement.

“Moreover, after graduation, we must ensure compliance with the requirements under the Trips agreement and other international treaties related to IPR,” Sultana commented.

Bangladesh is actively advancing its Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) framework.

In 2023, key milestones were achieved with the enactment of the Bangladesh Patent Act, 2023 and the finalization of the Bangladesh Industrial Design Act, 2023, and Copyright Act, 2023.

The imminent launch of the Sheikh Russel IP Institute underscores Bangladesh's commitment to innovation and IPR modernization, she also said.

In response to the upcoming challenges to rescue from imminent disadvantages of implementing IPR in the country, recognizing the urgency, the Ministry of Industries has initiated a comprehensive action plan, aligning with the LDC graduation, engaging in strategic accomplishment and preparing a factual report to extend transition periods, she added.

“We are seeking support from international organizations like WIPO and WTO, establishing IP associations, and introducing Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) and Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) are concrete steps toward a resilient intellectual property environment,” she added.

In his keynote presentation, Joseph Giblin, economic unit chief of the US embassy, said that people should refrain from using counterfeit products as they are personally dangerous, the profits go to international criminals, and they harm you through your economy.

ABM Hamidul Misbah, founder of Bangladesh IP Forum also presented a keynote and recommended that the NBR/Customs must start implementing the IPR Rules 2019 & enforce Import Policy Order 2021-24.

Moreover, the administrative bodies must be made aware of the importance of IPR Protection & Enforcement.

Patent Act 2022 and Copyright Act 2023 must be made consistent with International IPR Treaties.

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