Yangyel Lhaden

The Department of Intellectual Property (DoIP) on April 26 awarded cash prizes and certificates to the only three applicants for this year.

Chimi Dema, the owner of Druna gu, was awarded the first prize—Nu 70,000.

Chimi Dema’s trademark consists of word Druna with letter nine in Dzongkha and an illustration of wheat.

She said that trademark was very important because it gave identity to the business. “ Under trademark Druna gu, I sell cookies which distinguishes my cookies from others.”

One of the benefits of a trademark, Chimi Dema said, is that she can keep her recipe a secret and own the copyright of Druna gu.

Dorji Dema, the owner of ZhiWa, bagged the second price—Nu 50,000.

Dorji Dema said that her idea to start vegan food production won third prize at the startup weekend. “ Although I graduated from a business college, I was not aware of intellectual property rights (IPR).”

She said her friend has suggested that she visit DoIP and the officials explained to her the different types of IPR.

“ZhiWa resonates food of compassion and the logo has leaves which represents that the food is plant-based,” Dorji Dema said. ZhiWa’s products include vegan steak and vegan pickle.

Tandin Tshewang’s BHC (Bhutan Health Care) won the third prize—Nu 30,000. BHC produces disposable face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Tandin Tshewang said that he wanted to produce face masks and PPE locally to meet the shortage during the pandemic. “National Credit Guarantee Scheme and National Cottage and Small Industry Bank were kind enough to provide loan for my business.”

He said that he was aware of trademark and consulted his friend to design the trademark for his business and got it registered for Nu 1,000.

National Trademark Award is a yearly event that aims to encourage and promote innovation and creativity in the country.

Deputy Chief Intellectual Property Officer, Binod Pradhan, said that in today’s world, trademarks have become important as people build more relationships with the brand than the product.

“Trademark is a powerful intangible asset that provides economic value to the business by improving recognition, creating trust, and providing a competitive base for business,” he said.

He said that Bhutanese entrepreneurs are encouraged to create a distinctive trademark for their products and services so that consumers can easily identify them. “Entrepreneurs should avoid creating commonly used trademark which could confuse consumers in identifying their products and services, which defeats the purpose of having a trademark.”

Binod Pradhan said that such an initiative from the department was aimed at the business community to understand the importance of having a trademark in business. “In total, more than 21,000 trademarks have registered with DoIP for protection; 550 by Bhutanese applicants.”

The assessment for the award was based on whether trademarks are well known in the Bhutanese market, activities undertaken by the business to promote its trademark, and whether the products are protected by other IPR besides trademark.

Applications and documents were evaluated by a committee comprising of officials from the DoIP and relevant agencies.