The Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka organised a webinar titled 'Celebration of World Intellectual Property Day' for the observance of World IP Day. This is the second time the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka is observing the day. This year's theme is 'IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to the market'.
Mr Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, M.P., the Honourable Minister of Industries of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Mr Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, Honourable Judge of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Special Guest. The event was presided by Professor Dr Md Rahmat Ullah, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka.
The webinar started with the welcome address from the Law Faculty Dean Professor Dr Md Rahmat Ullah. In his speech, he stated the importance of protecting intellectual property rights for businesses and especially SMEs. Dr Rahmat Ullah stressed that the concept of IP must be simplified so that the common man can understand and it is not just for policymakers and academicians to work on. He also stated that as the top law school of the country, the Faculty of Law of the University of Dhaka has an obligation to start this process of demystifying IP through IP Law Centres and Real Time IP Law Clinics. He hoped through this webinar this process in collaboration with all the stake-holders will begin.
The keynote address was delivered by the leading IP Law researcher of the country Professor Dr Mohammad Towhidul Islam, Professor, working at the Department of Law, University of Dhaka. The keynote was entitled 'Protection of IP Rights in Bangladesh with special reference to SMEs'. In the paper, Dr Islam discussed why the protection of IP rights is important especially for SMEs. He submitted how IP rights create economic value for businesses which can be used for commercialisation and even as mortgages for loans. Dr Islam further talked about the challenges that IP protection faces in Bangladesh. The Honourable Minister of Industries, Mr Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, MP as Chief Guest delivered the address highlighting the importance of SMEs in the national economy and the protection of IP rights required for better economic growth. The Honourable Minister also highlighted the steps taken by the Ministry of Industries in order to protect IP rights. He stated that the new Patents Act has recently been approved by the Cabinet and the Ministry is working on the new Designs Act in line with the TRIPS Agreement. The Honourable Minister stated that the Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka with its faculty members having expertise in IP law can establish an IP Law Centre that can conduct research and training on intellectual property. He also stated that the Faculty through a Technology Transfer Centre can bridge the gap between innovators and industry and can help in commercialisation, franchising, licensing, ensuring royalties, valuation and arrange funds for start-ups.
The special guest Mr Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, Honourable Judge of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh also spoke on the occasion. Mr John Cabeca, IP Counsellor for South Asia of the US Patents and Trademarks Office also spoke as a special discussant. The first part of the webinar consisted of officials from the DPDT and Copyright Office speaking on the registration process of patents, designs, trademarks, GIs and copyright. A video message was also sent by Mr. Marco Aleman - Assistant Director General, IP and Innovation Ecosystem Sector, WIPO for the webinar. In the second part, there was a panel discussion consisting of Mr Md Abdus Sattar – Registrar, DPDT, Mr Jafor Raja Chowdhury – Registrar, Copyright Office, Mr Christopher Kalanje – Counsellor of IP for Business Division, WIPO and Ms Shilpi Jha – Senior Commercial Specialist and IP Policy Advisor for South Asia – USPTO. The webinar ended with a vote of thanks from Professor Dr Nazrul Islam – Chairman, Department of Law, University of Dhaka.
Event reported by Tasnim Nusrat Reza, student of Law at the University of Dhaka.