FE Today Logo

Protecting IPR, counterfeiting prevention can bait investors

Experts suggest at AmCham meet

FE REPORT | December 01, 2023 00:00:00

The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) hosted a seminar on 'IPR Protection & Practices: Driving Economic Growth in Bangladesh' at a city hotel on Thursday. AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed chaired the panel discussion.

Prioritising intellectual property rights (IPR) and preventing counterfeiting are among baits that would attract foreign investment considered important in preparation for Bangladesh's graduation to middle-income-country status.

Speakers made such suggestion at a seminar on 'IPR Protection & Practices: Driving Economic Growth in Bangladesh' held Thursday in Dhaka under the auspices of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Bangladesh.

They said though the government has devised several policies and acts on IPR, those are not enough as bottleneck are there in the way of protecting right to outputs of intellect and ideas.

"A comprehensive national framework for IPR is required along with sectoral and national innovation taskforce to deal with the issues and resolve its bottleneck," said Syed Ershad Ahmed, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, at the business meet.

He called upon the stakeholders to work together to create an effective enabling system for safeguarding intellectual property.

Intellectual-property protection stands out as a pivotal issue of the time when ideas and innovations drive the economy at the fastest of speeds compared to other growth drivers.

Joseph Giblin, Economic Unit Chief at the US Embassy in Dhaka, said counterfeit products lead to health problems owing to their bearing harmful chemicals.

"Purchase of each counterfeit product affects sale of honest product," he alerted with regard to consumer rights.

Mr Giblin moderated a panel discussion attended by Hossain Ahmed, Member - Customs, Audit, Modernization and International Trade, Barrister Hamidul Mishbah, IP Lawyer & Founder, Bangladesh IP Forum, Md. Munim Hassan, Director-General, the Department of Patent, Industrial Design and Trademarks (DPDT).

Secretary of the Ministry of Industries Zakia Sultana attended the programme as chief guest.

Hamidul Misbah, an advocate at the Supreme Court, told the business audience that several provisions in the act are not aligned with international best practices.

There are some challenges facing implementation of IPR laws as it is yet to get due priority.

"There are some allegations that Bangladesh allows production of counterfeit products for saving foreign exchange," he said.

Singer Shafin Ahmed finds the process of registration of songs still in primitive stage. Fees and process of registration of song discourage service-seekers.

Mr Hussain Ahmed said the customs had already formulated updated rules but stakeholders need to adopt data-based approach for efficient IPR system.

"The NBR has planned to open a dedicated IPR cell to resolve problems relating to complexities in ensuring the rights," he said.

Shilpi Jha, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Senior Legal IP Counselor for South Asia, said the relevant laws and regulations on IPR need to be rendered into English too for the sake of investors.

She also laid emphasis on holding more consultations with stakeholders for effective implementation of IPR laws.

Ms Zakia Sultana said the recommendations made in the seminar would be reviewed thoroughly to take further initiatives on IPR.

AmCham Vice President Syed Mohammad Kamal offered the vote of thanks at the meet, which, incidentally, comes at a time when the United States has issued latest edicts on global industrial labour standards and rights.

[email protected]

Share if you like