The Trademark Registration system with the Department of Intellectual Property (DoIP) has earned Nu 89.12 million from direct national and international filings in the last 19 years, a press release stated.
The Trademark Registry, which also earns Swiss Francs (CHF) as the cost of filing applications (fee) when international applications are designated to Bhutan for registration. “This contributes to the government exchequer and increases our foreign currency reserves. For instance, of the total earnings, the Trademark Registry has generated CHF 1.53 million from the international trademark application,” the press release stated. “The highest revenue generation for DoIP was recorded in 2015, when it earned Nu 11.35 million.”
As of 2016, there were 16,115 trademark applications filed with the DoIP. In accordance with the Industrial Property Regulation, 1997, the Trademark Registry and the Registration system was established in 1997 as one of the earliest registration systems in the country to register national and international trademarks. The Industrial Property Act 2001 superseded the regulation.
Trademarks of companies and enterprises are distinctive signs, names and symbols or other forms of indications that distinguish goods and services from one another in the marketplace. “The protection and enforcement of trademark is of strategic importance to business to grow, which in turn create employment and promote new products for needy consumers,” the press release stated.
The Industrial Property Act 2001 and the Copyright Act 2001 were enacted to register and grant rights over creation of trademarks, industrial designs, patents and copyrights and related rights. Bhutan is required to provide for and put in place systems to register and grant trademark rights as commitments under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, 1883, which Bhutan acceded to in 2000.
At the international level, member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concluded the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks in 1891 and the Protocol relating to the Agreement in 1989. As a result, it established the Madrid system to protect Marks (trademark, service mark and collective mark) in a large number of countries by obtaining an international registration that has effect in each of the designated Contracting Parties. Bhutan acceded to both the Madrid Agreement and the Protocol in 2000.
Over the last 16 years of membership, the number of applications designating Bhutan under the Madrid system has increased. This number is expected to further increase with additional membership. “The Madrid system makes possible to file a single trademark application with a single set of fee, in one language (English) and designate multiple jurisdictions for registration and protection,” the press release stated. “This is not possible within the conventional national filing system as each company and enterprise must bear the burden to file trademark applications to the national intellectual property offices individually.”
The DoIP also has registration of property titles for Patents, Industrial Designs and Copyrights, but the registration of such intellectual property has not been as significant. The department is planning to include registration of Geographical Indications and Utility Models, as these would then better cover the needs of our local designs and innovations.