National Trademark Award was organised in Thimphu yesterday to recognise the role and significance of the trademark system in the country.

Economic affairs ministry organised the award in line with one of the strategic objectives of the Intellectual Property (IP) Policy 2018 – to provide incentives and encourage innovation and creativity.

Tshewang Dem, 49, owner of the Tshejor’s Ayzey, was awarded the first prize with a cash prize of Nu 70,000. All three winners were provided certificates with cash prize.

“I started making two varieties of ayzey about 18 years ago. However, it was only in 2011 that the business was officially registered as a business enterprise,” said Tshewang Dem.

She said that the main challenge was maintaining the supply consistency of the products.

Owner of Bhutan Alternatives, Leki Dawa, bagged the second prize and was given a cash prize of Nu 50,000. “When we have a trademark, our products get recognised. As we are one of the first businesses that make use of electronic waste, the hallmark is important.”

Senior IP officer, Binod Pradhan, said that the functions of marketing and innovation guide the underlying desire of a business to make a monetary profit in the process of providing quality products and services to customers. “Intellectual Property (IP) plays a role in both of these functions and specifically trademarks are of primary importance in the marketing process.”

The focus this time was given on the cottage and small industries to encourage the sector, he said.

Owner of Crystalmoon products, Chhimi Dema, bagged the third prize and was given a cash prize of Nu 30, 000. “I let my daughter take over the business after she completed her studies. With trademarks, we have the copyright with us. There is recognition and, at the same time, the products have value after people know them by trademark.”

Of the 17,150 trademarks that registered with the department, only about 182 are Bhutanese trademarks.

“Although the trademarks filed by Bhutanese is comparatively low, there had been gradual increase in the registration due to the IP awareness programmes, the department conducted,” said Binod Pradhan.

The Trademark Award also aims to encourage creation, registration and use of trademarks by the local business owners to enhance their development and competitiveness, which will result in the supply of quality goods and services in the market.

Applicants were assessed on registration of trademark, usage of trademark on products and services, impact of trademark on the business, and employment generation.

Rinchen Zangmo