The American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) has shared its ideas of creating an “effective and stronger” Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime for drawing more investments in Dhaka.
AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed at a virtual discussion on Tuesday said that “challenges are inevitable but we need to act and work together towards a common goal for creating an effective and stronger IPR regime in Bangladesh.”
“It can bolster our chances for attracting more foreign investments, encouraging and fostering innovations, generating new employment opportunities which will help us attain GDP growth and further advancement of our economy,” he said.
AmCham organised the discussion with the title “Intellectual Property Rights - Protection and Practices in Bangladesh”.
JoAnne Wagner, Chargé d’ Affaires, the United States Embassy in Bangladesh, attended the discussion as the chief guest. Md. Abdus Sattar, Registrar of the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT), John Cabeca, IP counselor for South Asia, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) were present as special guests.
Since Bangladesh economy is in growing status, Intellectual Property has become a significant factor in productivity and economic growth.
AmCham said strong and effective IP protection is a particularly powerful incentive for firms to invest in generating new technology in sectors where the returns to technological investment are very long term, involve high risks and are easy to copy.
IP rights provide a further impetus to innovation in that they require an inventor who seeks time-limited protection to publish the knowledge embodied in a product or process. Moreover, IPRs are essential to achieve market diversification and to shift towards higher value-added products and services.
A well-balanced IPR system that takes into account a wider public interest is conducive to Bangladesh's current and future socioeconomic development (particularly in the light of the following fast developing sectors such as Textile and RMG, Telecommunication, Shipbuilding, Leather, Pharmaceuticals, Construction, Transportation, etc., and with regard to the cultural heritage).
The AmCham President said the focus on the IPR regime is now on consolidation as well as promoting a fair balance between IP protection and public interest in the following steps to: Mark a specific period as the ‘Decade of Innovation’ and to constitute National & Sectoral Innovation Council to create a Roadmap; Develop a national framework for creation and protection of IPRs commensuration global standards; Strengthen the prominent entities involved in creation, protection and commercialization of IPRs and the Institutional Framework; Formal, semi-formal and informal protection practices of intellectual output to enhance awareness and education on IPR; Emphasize on academic institutions and publicly funded research laboratories as forefront of knowledge creation and innovation; and Leverage intellectual property rights to create a niche and gain a competitive edge for start-ups and individual innovators.
They also recommended for restructuring of the Institutions in different ways such as - an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Enforcement of IPR Laws to be Set Up, a Copyright Enforcement Advisory Council (CEAC) to be Set up, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) to be established, strengthening of IP stakeholders of Bangladesh and IPR Committees, and a Need for a Centrally Managed National Intellectual Property Enforcement Taskforce.
The President said AmCham represents a “united voice” to the key policy makers to improve the business ecosystem and provide a stage for opportunities in Bangladesh and beyond.
“AmCham had been the first one probably that opened up discussions on this IPR related issues back in the 90's. We also actively participated and raised our concerns in national and regional forums. We have proudly introduced a number of practices here in Bangladesh; the country was not familiar with,” he said.