With rise in theft of industrial intellectual property, firms are now becoming alert about legal recourse. A total of 502 complaints have been lodged against fake trademarks by mid-November while five have been lodged against theft of design, according to the Department of Industry that looks into trademark and registration disputes in the country. One can appeal against its decision in case of dissatisfaction.
A total of 36,934 trademarks, 72 patents and 92 designs—with almost equal foreign and domestic ones—have been registered with the department until now. Intellectual Property (IP) Director at the Department Yagya Prasad Bhattarai says most of the complaints have been filed for trademarks. Most of the complaints have been lodged against manufacturing industries for trademarks of textiles, biscuits, sweets, garments, pashmina and handicrafts since 2004. The department, however, refused to divulge further details stating that doing so merely on the basis of complaints can defame even innocent brands. “We have been addressing most of the complaints on the basis of issues. There has been no grievance about the disputes settled here,” Bhattarai adds. The department had settled 35 complaints in the fiscal year 2070/71, according to him. He claims 35 cases were settled also in 2069/70 but the data of settled complaints cannot be confirmed in lack of updating of the records.
All the countries affiliated with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) can complain with claims and compensation on the basis of information released by the department. The department publishes notice every month to file complaints including claims within 90 days of registration of trademarks registered. The department during a WIPO conference held in Kathmandu last month had said that only 30 percent of the complaints were settled. More complaints have been lodged against industrial firms, educational institutions, manpower agencies, firms involved in foreign trade and multi-national companies.
The department currently has been registering trademarks, patents and designs to commercially safeguard intellectual property rights. The Copyright Registrar Office under the Ministry of Culture has been registering copyrights and the constitutional affairs study office signs of intellectual issues.
Nepal has been recognizing intellectual property rights since 1936 but took WIPO membership only in 2004. Any company/institution registering trademark/patent can establish one’s brand across the world after Nepal took WIPO membership. Attention is not paid toward intellectual property in Nepal though one can boost business and establish one’s brand by registering intellectual properties. Entrepreneurs, however, are being attracted more toward trademarks and collective trademarks than patents and designs.