Despite the country’s progress in almost all socio-economic indicators, the authorities are failing to provide facilities for innovation, research and invention, thanks to the negligence of the government and all stakeholders.
Official figures suggest that only seven patents owned by local inventors were registered with the Department of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (DPDT) in 2016 while the authorities received less than a hundred applications in 2017.
Sectors insiders said local research institutions, universities and other organisations are not coming up with innovative work due to lack of promotion, monitoring and brain drain of talents.
“As local innovation is poor, the volume of patent applications is also poor. Only seven patent applications were approved in 2016 and the scenario was not satisfactory in 2017 as DPDT received less than a hundred patent applications from Bangladeshis.
How many of them will get their patents registered will be known in the middle of this year.” DPDT Deputy Register (patent and design) Saidur Rahman told the daily sun.
The number of Bangladeshis holding patents, which contains a declaration that the applicant is in possession of an invention, has historically been lower than expected but the number of applications from foreign inventors is quite high with DPDT.
DPDT data suggest that the agency received a total of 302 applications seeking patents in 2017 both from Bangladeshi and foreign applicants. An application needs around 18-24 months to get registration after a thorough scrutiny.
In 2016, DPDT received a total of 344 patent applications of which 272 applications were made by foreign applicants and only 72 were made by Bangladeshi applicants. There were only seven Bangladeshis out of a total 106 successful patent applicants.
Only nine Bangladeshis got their patents approved in 1972 out of 51 applications and the number remains almost the same after 46 years of independence.
In 2015, 11 Bangladeshis received patent registration out of 40 applications, 21 out of 44 applications in 2014, 16 out of 60 applications in 2013, 14 out of 65 applications in 2012 and 10 out of 32 applications in 2011, DPDT data suggest.
While the number of local application is relatively low, the interesting fact is that the patent applications by foreigners are quite high with DPDT and they are frequently getting patent registrations.
DPDT data show that a total of 272 foreigners applied for patents in 2016 and 99 got the registration, 90 out of 300 patent applications by foreigners were approved in 2015, 100 got registration out of 249 applications in 2014 and the foreign nationals secured 118 patents out of 243 applications in 2013.
Deputy Register of DPDT (patent and design) Saidur Rahman said patent laws are different in every country and the foreigners have to take patent registrations from different countries.
There is no point to deny that Bangladeshi students, researchers, innovators, research organisations, universities are not that much enthusiastic in invention and innovation and that’s why the number patent application is low, he said.
However, experts have said many local inventions, innovations or research have remained out of focus due lack of monitoring and promotion.