Trademark and economic development

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Offline Talukdar Rasel Mahmud

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Trademark and economic development
« on: April 07, 2015, 11:36:54 AM »
Bangladesh is a developing country. In order to turn her into developed one, protection of trademark plays an important role in cultural, industrial and economic developments of our country. But it is a matter of great concern that the availability of counterfeit product flooded in the market recently is a big threat towards the economy of our country. The availability of counterfeit product is a common picture in our country as regards to cosmetics, medicines, electronic equipments, mobile handset or other products. As for example, people are importing substandard mobile hand sets from China or elsewhere and selling those labeling with the same logo of reputed brands. The most horrible picture is at medicine market. It is a recent concern that the availability of fake medicine in market which is a big threat to human health. However, people are frequently getting confused at market when they are buying products and thus customers are being cheated variously and the manufacturers of these products are being seriously affected. It is due to legal loopholes and inaction of the law enforcers against the unscrupulous importers and traders.
This is happening because of unauthorized use of registered mark or protected mark. Bangladesh has legal mechanism to protect these counterfeit products and its marketing. The present legal basis of trade mark protection in Bangladesh is the Trademark Act of 2009 and Trademark Rules 1963.Within the meaning of section-2(8) of the Trade Mark Act, 2009 of Bangladesh, the term ‘trademark’ denotes a registered trade mark or a mark used in relation to goods or service or a mark used or proposed to be used in relation to any service or goods indicating a connection in the course of trade between the goods and the person having the right, either as proprietor or as registered user, to use the mark.
The object of Trademark Law is to promote business of manufacturers or proprietors by preventing counterfeit products available in the market and ensuring a better protection of trademark for goods or services. Above all, the prime object of trademark law is to prevent the use of fraudulent marks on goods and services by preventing the public from being misled as to the origin or quality of a product or service. So, a trademark should be registered to get protection under the Trademark Act 2009 which gives the registered proprietor of a trademark in respect of any goods the exclusive right to the use of trademark in relation to those goods. In case of infringement and other violations of the legal provisions, the trade mark law provides for severe penalties, including imposition of fine and imprisonment.
There are some difficulties in implementing trademark law in Bangladesh notably weakness of authority and monitoring cell, registration difficulties, lack of awareness of the people, cheap rate of counterfeit products etc. However t¬¬¬¬¬rademark protection plays a vital role in industrial smooth development of a country. It has become a tool for economic development, when it is used in the context of well-articulated national, regional or enterprise-based strategies, to encourage and support innovation and creativity. As for example there are more than 50 varieties of rice developed in Bangladesh but any other country may register (Intellectual Property Right) IPR for these varieties if we fail to register. In order to strengthen the trade mark protection in Bangladesh, the following suggestions can be followed:
 Firstly, to create awareness among the people of all classes about trademark law and bad impact of counterfeit product through public campaign or by some other means.
Secondly, a trade mark registry office should be introduced in each Divisional City to scrutinize the trade mark related matters very swiftly and to assist the industrial development smoothly.
Thirdly, online trademark application system can be introduced to fasten the procedure of trademark registry due to shortage of trade mark registry office.
Fourthly, the number officers and employees must be increased as because the number of application for trademark registration is increasing every year but due to shortage of staff it takes long time.
Fifthly, the officials at the trade mark registry office should be well trained with a view to maintaining the provisions The Trademark Act, 2009 along with international agreements (Paris Convention and TRIPS Agreement) as regards trade mark protection.
Sixthly, to introduce Trade Mark Protection Court in the Divisional Cities in order to fasten disposal of suits for trademark infringements and passing off.
Besides the above mentioned suggestions, the Government should take several steps which can make the Trademark Registry Office speedier and implement the present trademark laws more effectively. Different forms of trademark, service mark, certification mark or collective mark should be updated to maintain the consistency of the digital based society. Although the law contains adequate standard provisions to deal with these matters- such as trademark protection of registered or unregistered marks, infringement and falsifications of them. But, due to lack of awareness of the people, administrative inefficiency, and very old rules (Trademark Rules, 1963), it stands tough to implement the present law (Trademarks Act, 2009) and to ensure exclusive protection to the trade mark proprietors. By removing the present problems better trademark protection can be ensured which can draw the attention of entrepreneurs at home and abroad and thus we are optimist that Bangladesh can turn into an industrially developed country one day.

See more at:
Talukdar Rasel Mahmud
Lecturer, Department of Law
Daffodil International University (DIU)
Contact No:+88 01719 479603.