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10 days ago

Why trademark registration important for businesses

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Trademarks help make money for an owner or business. Nowadays, it is more beneficial for businesses. The Internet helps quickly promote a worldwide logo, brand, tagline or symbol.

Intellectual property or IP is an asset that comes to mind. It is not a physical asset but can be more valuable than a physical one. Intellectual property means products like brands, symbols, innovations, designs, books, movies, documentaries or other such contents. Anyone can protect it by law. IP law helps save the asset and stop copying and stealing. That's why you need to register your IP first and then take action, if anyone uses it without permission. Intellectual property is transferable.

What and how does IP do? It is an intangible creation. It comes from the human brain. The main source of IP is thinking. Then it leads to a new idea. When any idea or creation comes from anyone with creativity, it can be considered intellectual property.

Legal protection is there for intellectual property around the world. The central authority is the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the local authority is the Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT) and Copyright Office. They work to register and protect your intellectual property.

Types of IP: There are many types of IP protection, such as patents, designs, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents protect the right for any invention. It can be a product or a new solution. The duration of protection is 20 years in Bangladesh, according to the Bangladesh Patent Bill 2021. Design is called an industrial design in Bangladesh. It means "new" or "original", any industrial design for a product shape, pattern, line or colour. Protection of the product design is important to increase commercial and marketing value. A trademark is the name or symbol of a product or service. This trademark owner can be specific. That's why trademark certification adds a "unique" value to businesses worldwide. Copyright is a legal term relating to the right for literary and artistic work. The creator and owner get legal protection for original work after copyright registration. The copyright protects the works like novels, films, musical compositions, and computer programmes and artistic works like drawings, photographs, architecture, advertisements, etc.

Trademarks are individual names, symbols, logos or taglines. It creates a specific and original brand value among customers. It gives a person or trade organisation the business value. A trademark can be more than valuable besides physical assets. We live in a modern world where trademarks benefit an owner or business more. Now, the internet makes it easier to introduce a brand around the world in a short time. That's why it helps make money.

Trademark registration is not mandatory, but it is essential for an owner. After trademark registration, you get a few advantages, like stronger legal protection, easier enforcement, public notice, and customer trust. Anyone (residents and non-residents) can apply to DPDT to claim trademark registration with a paid fee. According to the DPDT website, from 1971 to 10 February 2024, a total of 319,615 applications were filed and 73,531 certificates were issued.

Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) and e-commerce entrepreneurs are increasing daily in Bangladesh. Our government is dedicated to creating an environment for entrepreneurs, and the internet is open to know about entrepreneurship worldwide. That's why the number of entrepreneurs in the country is increasing. But they are not aware of trademarks. Now, it's time to sensitize the people about this field so that entrepreneurs and creators, among others, are interested in trademark registration.

Razib Ahmed, former and founder president of the E-commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), said, "IP holds out much potential for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Those working with Deshi or local products should take the issue seriously. For example, an entrepreneur who sells Bangladeshi handloom saris can think of registering her customized sari designs."

Mr Ahmed stated, "E-commerce entrepreneurs can also add value to their business with trademarks. They have bought some domains with unique names or words. These trademarks can later be sold to large companies for millions, if not tens of millions."

The writer is treasurer at the e-Commerce Development Center (EDC).

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