Intellectual Property Rights
Patents, trademarks and copyrights are governed by the following legislative framework:
- Patents and Designs Act, 1911 and the Patents and Designs Rules, 1933
- Trade Marks Act, 1940 and the Trade Marks Rules, 1963
Copyright Ordinance, 1962, as amended by the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1974 and the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance, 1978.
Bangladesh is a State party to the Universal Copyright Convention (since 1975) for the protection of literary, scientific and artistic works, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (since 1991), and the Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (since 1999). Bangladesh has also been a member of the WIPO since 1985.
Applications for the granting of a patent or for the registration of an industrial design must be made to the Patent Office under the Ministry of Industries. According to the authorities, the time required for granting a patent or industrial design is 21 months and 9 months, respectively. The protection of industrial designs is provided for designs that are not previously published in the country and that are either new or original or both.
Patents are granted for new processes for the manufacture of chemical compounds, pharmaceutical compositions and microorganisms, but product patents are granted for chemical compounds only if they are produced by new processes. Chemical products without specific reference to the process of manufacture, mathematical theory, nuclear fission, inventions that are considered to be against national law or morality and microorganisms, as products only are not protected by patent. Currently, the patentability of pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products and of plant varieties is not covered.
There is a provision for compulsory licensing in the Patents and Designs Act, 1911, but such licence has never been issued in Bangladesh. Expected amendments of the Patents and Designs Act, 1911 include: broadening the definition of invention to include all fields of technology, provision of protection to plant varieties, extension of the term of patent protection to 20 years and incorporation of the provisions on layout or designs of integrated circuits.
The registration of trademarks is provided only in respect of goods and not services. The draft trademark legislation proposes to include provisions for the registration of service marks, as well as collective marks.
Applications for registration must be filed with the Trade Mark Registry, under the Ministry of Industries, and after examination they are advertised in the Trade Marks Journal. If they are uncontested, registration certificates are issued within a period of four months. The registration grants an exclusive right to the proprietor to use the registered marks for 7 years, which may be renewed for further periods of 15 years. Parallel imports are not permitted.
Most of the provisions in the existing Trade Mark Act, 1940 are in conformity with the TRIPS Agreement. Remaining provisions are to be incorporated or amended in a new Trade Mark Act, which is now under consideration, by the Government. The proposed act also includes provisions for the protection of geographical indication, which is not provided for under the 1940 Act.
Copyrights and related rights
Copyright registration is optional. Those who wish to register can file an application with the Copyright Office under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. The registration certificate is granted within 30 days from the date of application.
The term for copyright protection in published literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works is the life of the author plus 50 years. In the case of films, records, government works, works of international organizations and photographs, the term of 50 years is from the date of publication. In the case of broadcasts, the term of 25 years starts after the first fixation.
Copyright legislation is in the process of being amended. The new draft law includes the extension of copyright protection to computer programs, the recognition of rental rights for computer programs, sound recordings and films, and the recognition of rights of performers, in addition to rights of phonogram producers and broadcasting organizations. Provisions concerning licensing are to be included and the role of performing rights societies, which will be replaced by copyright societies, is expected to be enhanced. Additionally, new provisions on compulsory licensing of unpublished works will also be included.
Source: United Nations and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Top of page