Essay : GI Products of Bangladesh

Introduction

Each country has its own standards to live up to. Geographical Indication is a type of Intellectual Property that recognizes products to bear a certain reputation for themselves based on the country of its origin. Geographical Indication actually refers to names that are exclusive and can be used not just to allow easy differentiation between products but actually on characteristics that set them apart, such as their geographical origin. These indications or signs help in detecting products which bear the traits that are unique to their geographical background.

Geographical Indication

A geographical indication is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Article 22.1 of the Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, (TRIPS) Agreement defines geographical indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member of the World Trade Organization, or a region or locality in that territory. GI allows customers and producers to create trust and confidence on the product’s authenticity and quality in internal or external markets. It helps create a reputation of the product, facilitating fairer prices and access to larger markets for the producers.

Difference between GI and Trademark

Geographical indications and trademarks are distinctive signs used to distinguish goods or services in the marketplace. Trademarks inform consumers about the source of a good or service. They identify a good or service as originating from a particular company. In-country geographical indications identify a good as originating from a particular place. Based on its place of origin, consumers may associate a good with a particular quality, characteristic or reputation. A trademark often consists of a fanciful or arbitrary sign that may be used by its owner or another person authorized to do so. A trademark can be assigned or licensed to anyone, anywhere in the world. In contrast, the sign used to denote a GI usually corresponds to the name of the place of origin of the good, or to the name by which the good is known in that place.

Authorizing Organization

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT) is the authorized organization to register a product as a GI product of Bangladesh. After maintaining all the procedures, the government published a journal on the product and uploaded it on a website. According to the rules, if any country does not raise any objections within two months of publishing the journal, then the product will get the recognition of GI.

Developing Geographical Indication

Interest in GIs has thrived in recent years. The obligation, under the TRIPS Agreement, for members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to protect GIs has, to a large extent, triggered this attention. Geographical indication is a tool in marketing strategies. Developing a GI scheme involves a number of important steps, such as:
  • Identifying the product’s characteristics and assessing whether it has potential in internal or external markets;
  • Strengthening the cohesion of the group of producers and other operators involved, who will be the pillars of the GI scheme;
  • Setting up standards, sometimes called a code of practice or regulations of use;
  • Devising a mechanism to effectively attribute the right to use the indication to any producer and other operator concerned who produces the product within the product within the established boundaries and according to agreed standards;
  • Establishing traceability, verification and control schemes in order to ensure continued quality and compliance with the code of practice or regulations of use;
  • Devising marketing strategies;
  • Obtaining legal protection for the GI and designing an enforcement strategy.

Advantages of Geographical Indication

Easy Marketing : If a product has been certified as having a GI by the Department of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks (DPDT), it will have an edge over others when it comes to marketing. The certification will help the products better because consumers can trust they come from Bangladesh if they’re labeled ‘Bangladesh gi’ or ‘Product of Bangladesh’ on their packaging.
More credibility : We can also use this label for advertising purposes which will give us more credibility among customers who prefer buying local goods rather than imported ones. This could mean increased sales for our business!
Developing rural area : geographical indications as a factor of rural development, a number of studies indicate that, under appropriate conditions, GIs can contribute to development in rural ares. The entitlement to use a GI generally lies with regional producers, and the added value generated by the GI occurs therefore to all such producers.

Bangladesh GI

According to the Department of Parents, Designs and Trademarks (DPDT), Bangladesh has applied for GI certification for 29 more products. A few of these has been granted the final GI recognition. Jamdani Sari was recognized as the first geographical indicator product in Bangladesh in 2016. The rest of the geographical indicator products are Khirsapat Mango of Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh Hilsa, The white soil of Vijoypur, Dinajpur Kataribhog, Bangladesh Kalijira Rice, Shataranji or Rangpur, Rajshahi Silk and Dhakai Muslin. So, Bangladesh has now got the ownership of a total of nine GI products. No other country or individual in the world can claim the ownership of these nine products. Bangladesh has granted GI rights in compliance with all the conditions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of the United Nations. All the information of these products has also been given on the website of the organization. From here, citizens of any country in the world will be able to know about the products. Traders of any country can import these products from Bangladesh as per their choice. As a result, there is a possibility of an increase in the export of these products.
Given that many of the traditional products of Bangladesh may not have export potential for pragmatic reasons like perishability, or the demand patterns dependent on population structure, there is no dearth of unique items that Bangladesh can seek GI certifications for the honey from Sundarban, or the traditional weaves of the indigenous tribes, Rajshahi’s heritage handloom silk, traditional toys of wood and cloth dolls, the special ‘kantha’ quilts from Sylhet, Shonkher Hari, etc. These are all items that hold culture and emotional significance for the people of Bangladesh, and also indicate to decent trade potential. A list of GI products in Bangladesh is given below:
NameRegisteredIssuance of CertificateApplicant and Certified Institution
Jamdani Sari1 September 201517 November 2016Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation
Bangladesh Hilsa13 November 201617 August 2017Department of Fisheries
Khirsapat Mango of Chapainawabganj2 February 201727 January 2019Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute
The white soil of Vijaypur6 February 201717 June 2021Deputy Commission's Office, Netrokona
Dinajpur Kataribhog6 February 201717 June 2021Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
Bangladesh Kalijira7 February 201717 June 2021Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
Shataranji of Rangpur11 July 201917 June 2021Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation
Raishahi Silk24 September 201717 June 2021Bangladesh Sericulture Development Board
Dhakai Muslin2 January 201817 June 2021Bangladesh Handloom Board

Conclution

GIs have recently become the subject of generalized interest. The fact that GIs are embedded in a territory means they can be effective tools for promoting locally-based development. With the increasing recognition of GIs’ multifunctional character, the challenge will be to design and implement a comprehensive GI scheme that could constitute the basis for sustainable development.

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