Almost three years after the formulation, the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) 2018 was launched yesterday in Thimphu to provide intellectual property (IP) rights to promote creativity and innovation for social, cultural and economic development.

The policy was approved during the 151st session of the Cabinet held on February 13 this year.

The Department of Intellectual Property’s director general, Kinley T Wangchuk, said NIPP sets out seven strategic objectives towards a more balanced, equitable and integrated approach to the use of the IP system.

“The increase in innovation and creativity to fuel our economic, social and cultural development will get us closer to the attainment of greater well-being, contentment and happiness for our people,” he said.

The seven strategies include the development of balanced and development-oriented IP laws and regulations, establishment of the effective institutional framework, and increasing the strategic use of IP assets and greater use of IP system for the protection of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expression.

Other strategies include facilitating the transfer of technology, improving access to the results of innovation and creativity, strategic participation in the international IP system, and incentives to encourage innovation and creativity.

The policy also lays out the roles and responsibilities of the government towards fulfilling each of the strategies.

Economic affairs minister, Lekey Dorji, said that the existing Industrial Property Act and the Copyright Act enacted in 2001 are more focused on administration and the enforcement of the intellectual property but that a successful intellectual property regime is beyond administration and enforcement of IP rights.

“The policy, therefore, is expected to provide a clear and practical framework for establishing inter-agency and stakeholder linkages with a roadmap for improving the role and use of the IP system as a catalytic tool for businesses and for social, economic, and cultural development,” he said.

The minister also said the policy provides a way forward to amend the existing legislation such as the Copy Right law and the Industrial Property law to fit the changing times. “This policy is aimed to enhance our current IP system to promote innovation and creativity and to take us beyond registration services.”

Industrial Property Act deals with technological inventions, utility models, trademarks for goods and services and industrial designs among others while Copy Right law protects literary, artistic and derivative works.

Lyonpo Lekey Dorji also urged the stakeholder institutions or agencies that are the custodians of art and craft, architecture, traditional medicine, living culture and way of life to make use of IP knowledge to preserve and protect the country’s IP assets before it is too late.

Karma Cheki