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Bhutan (BT)

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Apr 26, 2018 (Newsletter Issue 8/18)
National Intellectual Property Policy 2018 Launched
The Ministry of Economic Affairs officially launched the National Intellectual Property Policy (NIPP) 2018 to provide intellectual property (IP) rights to promote creativity and innovation for social, cultural and economic development. The policy was approved during the 151st session of the Cabinet held on February 13, 2018.

NIPP focuses on seven strategic objectives that will be implemented through formulation of strategies and annual action plans. Changes in a number of areas are planned. Changes to legislative frameworks on the protection of intellectual property rights that are well suited to socio-economic conditions of the country, building collaboration between the industry and R&D institutions to engage in conducting joint researches, framing of appropriate protection regimes for traditional knowledge, traditional culture expressions and genetic resources that concerns the indigenous communities and greater participation at the multilateral level to implicate and preserve national interests on intellectual property, among others.

Further developments will be reported.


Legal basis is the IP ACT, 2001 in force since 2001.
Member of WIPO since 16th March, 1994
Paris Convention on 4th August, 2000
Berne Convention on 25th November, 2004
Bhutan has been a member of the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol since August 4, 2000.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration.
Nice classification, 11th edition
A trademark is a sign used by a person in the course of business or trade to distinguish his/her goods or services from those of other traders. This sign can be any letter, word, name, signature, numeral, device/logo, brand, label, drawing, symbols, shape, colour, aspect of packaging or a combination of these. Registering a trademark gives the owner rights to enable him to control the use of the sign. The following trademark types are registrable: trademarks, service marks and collective marks.
The application is filed at the IP Registry under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Thimphu, Bhutan.
Multiple-class applications are possible; an application can include goods in any number of classes, but with additional charges for each additional class.
Applicants need to furnish the following information to obtain a filing date
(1) Request for registration,
(2) Name and address of the applicant,
(3) A clear representation of the mark,
(4) A list of goods and services sought for registration,
(5) A declaration of use/intent to use the trademark, and
(6) Required fee.
The application will be processed when the above particulars are furnished in the prescribed Form 7. For marks with colours, whether coloured marks or marks consisting of colours only, marks comprising shapes or aspects of packaging containing colours, the marks must be filed in the actual colours. For marks with non-English words/characters, a certified translation and transliteration (i.e. pronunciation) must be included in the application.
Foreign applicants need a local agent, who serves as address for service. An address for service in Bhutan must be provided in all trademark applications. This is the address to which all correspondences from the Registry of trademarks will be sent. Where there is a change in the address for service, the applicant has to notify the Registry of trademarks.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks. Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if distinctiveness has been acquired by use.
The length of processing time depends on whether the application is procedurally in order and whether the mark faces objections. If there is an objection filed, then a response has to be filed within two months from the date of notice with the prescribed fee paid. In the absence of any such objection, the applicant should hear from the Registrar concerning the acceptance of his application within 4 to 6 months of his application. However, it should be noted that rights for registration of a trademark accrue from the date of filing.
Trademark applications accepted by the Registrar are published in the website bulletins prior to registration.
The approximate time frame for completing the registration process of a trademark in Bhutan is from 9 to12 months.
The opposition period is 3 months from the publication date of the application.

Details regarding the Opposition Period against designation of IR Mark are available in our publication on this topic here
The registration of a mark shall be for a period of 10 years from the filing date of the application for registration. It is renewable for further periods of 10 years each.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months starting from the expiry of validity.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
Any aggrieved person may request the Court or the Registrar to order the removal of a mark from the Register, in respect of any of the goods or services for which it is registered, on the ground that up to 1 month prior to filing the request the mark had, after its registration, not been used by the registered owner or a licensee during a continuous period of 3 years or longer, provided that a mark shall not be removed if it is shown that special circumstances prevented the use of the mark and that there was no intention not to use or to abandon the same in respect of those goods or services.

Further practical details are available in our publication on this topic here
The official application fee is (local currency) INR/Nu 1,000 for one class and (local currency) INR/Nu 1,000 for each additional class. Registration fee is INR/Nu 1,000 per class.

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Practical details on licensing procedures, requirements and effectiveness are available in our publication on this topic here.
Country Index is a free service of SMD Group. We thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided.

Apr 18, 2018
JAH & CO. IP, Doha, Qatar  

Jul 30, 2013
Kan and Krishme, New Delhi, India

Intellectual Property Division, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan
GPO Box No. 141
11001, Bhutan
Tel +975 2 335233 or 326512
Fax +975 2 2321145
Mr. Binod Pardhan, Sr. IP Officer (Trademark Registry), email:

Mr. Jasu Thapa, Sr. IP Officer (Trademark Registry), email:

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
34, Chemin des Colombettes
1211 Geneva 20
Tel +41 22 33 89 11 1
Fax +41 22 73 35 42 8