The Minister of Economic Affairs (MoEA) Lyonpo Lekey Dorji launched the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) 2018 in the Ministry on March 23.
Lyonpo said that some may wonder why they are launching a new policy when the government has only afour months in office.
“The officials of the Department of Intellectual Property have been working on this policy for years and the policy brings predictability and the way forward in this important but misunderstood area,” said the minister.
“Intellectual property (IP) has become a matter of international importance and features prominently in regional and global trade treaties,” Lyonpo said.
He added that understanding these complexities and its importance to industrial growth and economy, the erstwhile Division of Intellectual Property was upgraded to a full-fledged department a year ago.
“There are ongoing debates on the protection and exploitation of biodiversity resources, on the development and transfer of environmental-friendly technology, on protection of traditional knowledge, folklore and indigenous culture, and on other aspects of socioeconomic and cultural development, where intellectual property plays a vital role,” Lyonpo said.
Further, Lyonpo explained IP would help Bhutan preserve its unique identity which are its culture, traditions, art and craft, architecture, technological innovations, and way of life.
IP policy will allow amendments of existing legislations such as Copy Right law and Industrial Property law to fit the changing times.
More than to protect Lyonpo said the policy is to promote innovation and creativity to improve economic, social, cultural and technological wellbeing of the country.
The policy is designed to establish institutional frameworks for a more balanced development using IP system to increase our IP assets, promote transfer of technology, and to promote innovation and creativity.
“I would also like to urge all agencies who are the custodians of our art and craft, our art and architecture, our traditional medicines, our living culture, and our way of life to make use of the IP knowledge to preserve and protect our own IP assets before it is too late.” Lyonpo added.
Director General Kinley Wangchuk said with the increase in the number of industries in the last few decades and the growth in products and services in the market, innovation and creativity has played an important role in the expansion and growth of industries and businesses.
“Today, businesses are venturing into innovative ways of producing and manufacturing of products and services, and its delivery to consumers. To empower the industry in harnessing long-term benefits from their innovation, there is an urgency to provide greater protection and promotion of their intellectual property rights. These are important measures to build the confidence of the industry to continue investment in innovation in order to add new products and services to the market” he said.
He said that the policy envisages to bring changes in a number of areas; legislative frameworks on the protection of intellectual property rights, building collaboration between the industry and R&D institutions, framing of appropriate protection regimes for traditional knowledge, traditional culture expressions and genetic resources that concerns the indigenous communities and greater participation at the multilateral level to implicate and preserve national interests on intellectual property, among others.