Inte​llectual Property Policy Launched in Bhutan

“Intellectual property (IP) has become a matter of international importance and features prominently in regional and global trade treaties,” Lyonpo said.

Inte​llectual Property Policy Launched in Bhutan. (Source:


By Kinley Yonten | The Bhutanese


The Minister of Economic Affairs (MoEA) Lyonpo Lekey Dorji launched the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) 2018 on March 23. Works on the formulation of the policy were initiated in 2015 to assess its impact and benefits.

“The officials of the Department of Intellectual Property have been working on this policy for years and the policy brings predictability and the way forward in this important but misunderstood area,” said the minister.

“Intellectual property (IP) has become a matter of international importance and features prominently in regional and global trade treaties,” Lyonpo said.

He added that understanding these complexities and its importance to industrial growth and economy, the erstwhile Division of Intellectual Property was upgraded to a full-fledged department a year ago.

The vital role that intellectual property plays

“There are ongoing debates on the protection and exploitation of biodiversity resources, on the development and transfer of environmental-friendly technology, on the protection of traditional knowledge, folklore and indigenous culture and on other aspects of socio-economic and cultural development, where intellectual property plays a vital role,” Lyonpo said.

In addition, Lyonpo explained that IP would help Bhutan to preserve its unique identity which are its culture, traditions, art and craft, architecture, technological innovations and unique way of life.

The IP policy will allow amendments of existing legislations such as the Copyright law and Industrial Property law to fit the changing times.

More than just to protect intellectual properties, Lyonpo said that the policy is to promote innovation and creativity to improve the economic, social, cultural and technological well-being of the country.

The policy is designed to establish institutional frameworks for a more balanced development using the IP system to increase Bhutan’s IP assets, promote the transfer of technology and to spur innovation and creativity.

“I would also like to urge all agencies who are the custodians of our art and craft, our architecture, our traditional medicines, our living culture, and our way of life to make use of the IP knowledge to preserve and protect our own IP assets before it is too late,” Lyonpo added.

Innovation and its role in Bhutan

Director General Kinley Wangchuk said that with the increase in the number of industries in the last few decades along with the growth in products and services in the market, innovation and creativity has played an important role in the expansion and growth of industries and businesses in Bhutan.

“Today, businesses are venturing into innovative ways of producing and manufacturing of products and services, and its delivery to consumers. To empower the industry in harnessing long-term benefits from their innovation, there is an urgency to provide greater protection and promotion of their intellectual property rights. These are important measures to build the confidence of the industry to continue investment in innovation in order to add new products and services to the market,” he said.

Wangchuk also said that the policy envisages to bring about changes in a number of areas such as legislative frameworks on the protection of intellectual property rights and the collaboration between the industry and R&D institutions.

The framing of appropriate protection regimes for traditional knowledge, cultural expressions and genetic resources that concern indigenous communities are also being taken into account.

The policies will enhance greater participation at the multi-lateral level to preserve Bhutan’s interests on intellectual property.  It will empower industries and businesses to enjoy long term benefits of their innovation.


This article first appeared in The Bhutanese and has been edited for the new Bhutan Times.


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