20 June 2019
BANGLADESH: New IP Rules Ban Export and Import of Counterfeit Goods
Bangladeshi customs authorities will prevent the import or export of goods suspected of Intellectual Property (IP) rights infringement once a new regulation comes into force.
Under the terms of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Rules 2019, drafted by the country’s National Board of Revenue, customs officials will be authorised to block suspected counterfeit goods on receipt of a valid complaint from the rightful IP rights owner. Grounds for detention of such goods include violation of copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial design and geographical indications (GIs). The regulation, currently awaiting formal endorsement by the customs department, is expected to be adopted in July 2019.
Complainants will be required to notify the relevant customs officials of goods exported or imported (or are anticipated to be exported or imported) in violation of their IP rights. All such notifications will be valid for a period of one year and must be accompanied by the necessary supporting documents. Customs officials will be expected to resolve all such complaints within 30 days of receipt under the terms of the incoming regulation.
Goods found to have been imported or destined for export in violation of IP rights will be liable to confiscation and, in some cases, destruction. In addition, the relevant importer or exporter will have to bear the expense of all such confiscated items’ disposal.
Owing to its status as a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh is at present not obliged to enforce internationally recognised IP protection rules. However, the government expects the incoming rules to bring the country’s IP rights regime in line with international best practices, and in turn boost the confidence of foreign investors. The prevalence of counterfeit goods has been a challenge for foreign businesses operating in Bangladesh, and the new rules, once implemented, are expected to improve the operating environment for overseas businesses in the country.