Bangladesh is preparing to challenge the patent of Jamdani taken by Government of India.
Bangladesh is now ready to contest the claim on the patent of Jamdani Saree. It is an example of the familiar dispute between two neighboring countries who share the same culture and heritage. Tarana Halim, an M.P from Bangladesh circulated this information at a program hosted by “Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry”. Bangladesh has not still enacted Geographical Indication (GI) Law by which the country can protect their traditional knowledge. However, “The Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 came into force in India from September, 2003 according to the guidelines of “Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of World Trade Organization (WTO). With the power of this law, India has created a GI register of its traditional products. India has included the Jamdani Saree in this register. That means, other nations cannot manufacture Jamdani Saree without the permission of Indian Government. Now, India can allow Bangladesh to manufacture and sell the product in exchange for a premium price.
Geographical Indication (GI) is a mark used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and are claimed to possess qualities or a reputation attributable to that place of origin. As for example, a specific type of climate and soil is required for the cultivation of Basamati rice. India and its adjacent countries are qualified for the production of Basamati rice. GI law protects this type of traditional knowledge to maintain the quality, originality and the reputation of the indigenous products.
Now, Bangladesh is claiming that Jamdani is the original product of Dhaka region. Dhaka style of Jamdani is largely manufactured by the weavers who migrated to India from East Bengal at the time of partition of India. The NGOs of Dhaka who works for the development of the weavers are saying that they will not pay the premium price if India demands. In the support of their argument, they have cited some historical evidence from the book of “Arthashatra” of “Chanakya” that was written on about 300 AD. According to the book, a fine handloom product was manufactured in “Pundra” of Bangladesh. Besides it, Arab, Chinese and Italian traders mentioned that they were importing a type of fine fabrics from the Dhaka region, which is presently known as Bangladesh.
On the other hand, Indian commerce ministry officials said that they had not taken the patent of Bangladesh Jamdani. They have registered jamdani craft of Andhra pradesh, a state of South India. It is not related to the handicrafts of eastern India province. They also said that India would not contend if Bangladesh files for Jamdani patent. There is enough scope of joint registration. They also said that many products were grown and manufactured in both sides of the borders of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is difficult to ascertain who the original producer of the products is. Joint registration of the countries is the only solution of this dispute.