Indian claims over Geographical Indications of Bangladesh: sustainability under intellectual property regime
WTO-TRIPS regimes aspire to establish fair and competitive business practice – free from unfair competition, trade piracy, misleading consumers – with a view to facilitating just and fair dividends to the stakeholders. Bangladesh, as a developing country, needs to reap the benefits from the existing systems. It has huge potentiality with some of its famous foodstuffs, handicrafts and cultural heritage. Although some of its local and indigenous articles are recognized, however they are yet to be protected by the regional and international players. Recent Indian steps to register some reputed foodstuffs and handicrafts of Bangladesh have posed a potential threat to Bangladesh in protecting its legitimate interests. These Indian claims over GIs of Bangladesh are not maintainable under its intellectual property regime. Historical exploration reveals much stronger evidence of the origin of those GIs in some localities that are unquestionably part of Bangladesh. The present-day GI and trade policies strongly advocate restrictions on unfair competition and, thus, recent Indian claims are controversial and questionable in terms of historical origin and legal analysis. The precedents set by the Indian courts place prohibitions on GI piracy of other countries as well. Even under the Indian state, practice in regard to the famous Basmati rice case has proven that the recent attempts to overlook or undermine the issues of legality are not compatible with the country's intellectual property regime.