The Covid-19 episode is changing the world rapidly. New economic and corporate chemistries are ossifying to supplement the future needs. Many European companies are moving their factories out of China, Japan is also following the same footsteps. At the same time, countries like Vietnam Indonesia, India and Myanmar are placing lucrative investment offers to those companies. Bangladesh, being the most suitable investment platform, is also trying to turn the fury of Covid-19 into blessings by attracting foreign investors.

On 10 May 2020, amid the corona virus outbreak, Bangladesh Government has introduced the One Stop Service (Bangladesh Investment Development Authority) Rules, 2020. The 2020 Rules was enacted by dint of the One Stop Service Act, 2018 (OSSA), an Act aimed to ensure expeditious implementation of local and foreign investment projects by providing necessary services, aids, incentives, licences, permissions, approvals within stipulated time and against one application. However, the Act itself did not frame the time schedule and hence, left the Act non-effective.

The demand for expeditious and presumable file processing period in relation to foreign investment formalities was pressing the government for the country’s greater interest. It is commonly said by the foreign investors that they have to face three governments in Bangladesh i.e. the Bangladesh Bank, Commerce Ministry and the NBR! Some of my foreign clients have also had bitter experiences after applying for necessary permissions to do business in Bangladesh. While Bangladesh was trying to attract foreign investments by offering different incentives and facilities; at the same time, irregularities, complex official procedure and unnecessary delay in file processing were some of the common allegations brought by the foreign investors against our system.


The 2020 Rules, nevertheless, will be a game changer to recover foreign investors’ trust in our system. The 2018 Act requires the government to establish as many ‘One Point Service Centre’ all over the country as are necessary to provide smooth and professional services to the investors while setting up their business in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA), Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) and Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority will be the Central One Stop Service Authorities, while, as per demand, there will be many Divisional and/or Local One Stop Service Authorities.

The most interesting part of this 2018 Act is that investors are no longer required to file separate applications to separate authorities for obtaining separate licenses. One duly filed application to any focal point (the person authorized to deal with such application) with all necessary documents is sufficient to obtain all the licenses, permissions, approvals and incentives. In case, any other existing law requires the investor to file separate application for any permission or license that falls within the scope of this Act, that law should be deemed to be ineffective to its extend of conflict with the 2018 Act.

The 2020 Rules has supplemented the 2018 Act by stipulating specific time frame for issuing Trade Licence i.e. within 1 day (Working Day). It also provides time slot for completing formalities with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies (RJSC). For example- Company Name Clearance or Company incorporation or Certificate of Commencement of Business is to be issued within 1 day, Approval of Articles of Association (AOA) or Memorandum of Association (MOA): 3 days, Share Transfer or amendment of AOA/MOA or Change of Directors: 7 days.

The Rules has also emphasized on BIDA’s services. Industry Registration or Visa recommendation or Import Permit recommendation or License for Importing Capital Machineries or any Amendment to registration certificates is made compulsory to be issues within 1 day. Permission for opening Branch/Liaison offices can now be obtained within 15 days, while most of the BIDA’s Visa Processing services and foreign remittance repatriation approvals are made mandatory to be provided within 7 days. The uncertainty of time in providing security reports has also been removed by making it mandatory to provide SB report for Visa within 21 days, while SB and NSI security clearances is to be issued within 30 days and 3 days respectively.

It is not possible to cover every single head in this article, however, time frame has been fixed for issuing Import-Export licenses, Land Acquisition& Land Registration, Environment & Factory related licences, National Board of Revenue (NBR) governed formalities, BGMEA utilization declaration, and Bangladesh Bank & Stock Exchange concerned formalities.


To avail the facilities of OSS, the investor may either apply online through OSS portal or file manual application. The application must contain, along with necessary government fee submission proofs, all necessary information and documents required for obtaining all the desired licences or approvals. Requirements may be verified from the OSS portal or by direct consultation with Focal Points and/or service authority. Time counting will start from the next working day of submission of the application.

The combination of the 2018 Act and the 2020 Rules is very unique, as it sets requirement for initiating disciplinary action against the focal point or authority who has failed to dispose of any application within stipulated time frame. Any such failure due to negligence, irregularity and/or non-cooperation will be treated as the professional incompetence and misconduct of the concerned officer.

In case of online applications, automatic computer generated notification will be sent to the head of the Authority. On the other hand, failure to deal with manual applications can be taken into consideration on the basis of information provided by the applicant or from the official evaluation reports submitted quarterly and half-yearly. Nevertheless, it is unprecedented in Bangladesh that government officials are being held liable for their failure to provide services within particular time frame and hence, I consider this 2020 Rules as an instrument of new hope for Bangladesh.

Author: Barrister Shaleh Akram Somrat

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In the context of emerging economic order, the need to introduce a legal system to adopt Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)was a timely demand. Despite having specific and separate laws for the protection of IPR, Intellectual Property (IP) right holders were suffering from inadequate legislative focus on the process of import-export of counterfeited or falsely descripted products.

To supplement the growing significance of IPR protection, on 19 November 2019, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has enforced the Intellectual Property Enforcement (Import & Export) Rules 2019 with immediate effect. The Customs wing of the NBR is now authorized to confiscate and/or destroy any IPR infringed products, goods or shipments. If any product is manufactured, produced, reproduced, assembled, marketed or used in any other means by violating the existing IP laws of Bangladesh or abroad, and without the permission of the IP right holder or his authorised person then such product will be treated as an IPR infringed product. Therefore, an IP right holder can take the benefit of new IPR enforcement regime against counterfeited or false descripted or even genuine products.

To avail the benefit, an IP right holder must file and register a notice to the concerned Customs House or Customs Station or Customs Port on a prescribed form. If you are an IP right holder, you may file such objection notice with specific information i.e. some infringed IP products have already been imported or have been presented for exporting, or with apprehension of such import or export.

Any such objection notice requires to be registered by the Customs authority to initiate the legal process and registration will not be given unless the IP right holder provides some necessary documents along with the notice. The Customs authority may ask the right holder to provide necessary documents within the next 15 working days of receipt of the notice, which can be extended to a further period 7 working days. An IP right holder is required to provide- (a) his full name, address, email and telephone number; (b) if he is represented by any person, copy of the “Letter of Authority”; (c) proof of ownership or title i.e. Registration Certificate, Dealership Agreement, Deed of Assignment etc.; (d) date of commencement and expiry of IP rights; (e) skeleton of statements supporting the notice for staying release of the products; (f) for specific shipment-details of the shipment; (g)details of the IP right holders original goods along with HS code, sample and clear pictures; (h) name of the concerned Customs House or Customs Station or Customs Port; (i) money receipt of submission of Notice filing fee of Tk. 5000. Upon receipt of the documents the Commissioner of Customs will notify, within the next 30 working days, the applicant his decision as to whether the notice is registered or rejected. Once the notice is registered, it will be valid for one year and the Customs authority will require the applicant to execute and furnish sufficient security bond against the customs authority’s liability in causing any loss or damages to the importer/exporter/owner/recipient of the products by confiscating or staying release of the product in case the notice is not disposed of in favour of the applicant or the alleged IP right holder.

The Customs Commissioner or duly authorized officer may stay release of any objected product at its own will or on the basis of IP right holder’s objection notice, if he is satisfied that IPR has been infringed by any importer/exporter. However, if the authority stays the release by its own will, it will ask the IP right holder to submit necessary documents within the next 10 working days (3 working days for perishable goods), which can further be extended for another 4 working days.

Parties may be allowed to inspect the shipment, collect sample or any necessary information, but subject to the condition of maintaining confidentiality or business secrets. Parties may seek for any necessary information under the Right to Information Act, 2009.

After inspecting all the documents, the Customs authority will determine whether IPR has been infringed. Any such objection notice may be disposed of ordering destruction of the products if it is proved that IPR has been violated. However, no such product will be destroyed if there is any case pending on this subject matter. On the other hand, if the Customs authority finds no IPR infringement, it will provide release certificate within the next 24 hours and in such a case, the applicant may be held to pay for any loss or damages, to the importer/exporter/owner of the goods, incurred due to the disposal of the objection notice.

One significant characteristic of this Intellectual Property Enforcement (Import & Export) Rules 2019 is that it operates territorially with a global effect. We are very hopeful that this newly introduced IPR protection mechanism will help IP right holders in preserving, maintaining and accelerating their cross-border business outputs.

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Commercial opportunities and ancillary frauds walk hand in hand and online business is not an exception to the foregoing. I believe, I need not to explain the readers about the available commercial opportunities on the internet. Everyone understands that internet can offer remarkable profits. However, some people were always smarter than us. The practice that is subsequently identified as cybersquatting was initiated when most of the businessmen could not speculate business opportunities on internet.

Let me make you clear with two situations. Suppose you are a big fan of American pop singer Madonna. You want to check out her recent activities and logged on Maddona.com thinking sensibly that this might be her website. Surprisingly, you discovered that instead of music videos this site is full of adult and pornographic contents!

Again suppose Mr. Elahi is a busy lawyer. He always takes help of Alexa (a smart speaker with a voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service) for silly internet searches. He has asked Alexa to go to Microsoft.com but Alexa took him to MikeRowesoft.com which is a web designing business platform. He again instructed slowly and clearly but as these two websites sound too similar, Alexa did the same mistake! Do you really think it’s a mistake?

You may be surprised to hear that these two examples are real situations. Madonna.com was purchased by an adult entertainment site businessman who was using Madonna’s name & fame in making profit by getting accidental visitors tohis pornographic website. Similarly, MikeRowesoft.com was registered by a Canadian teenage named Mike Rowe who was claiming that the website contains his name (MikeRowe) and he thought it would be fun if he adds the word “soft” at its end. However, he claimed $10,000 to Microsoft for bringing down this website.

Apart from these two cases, there are thousands of instances where well-known names and famous trademarks have been registered by the wrong person with bad faith either for ransom money or for making traffic generated profits that he is not entitled to. In 2000, an Arsenal fan purchased the domain “manchesterunitedfc.com” and advertised it for sell at $100,000 saying “As an Arsenal fan there is a certain amount of revenge in it”!The famous British public service broadcaster “BBC” had to fight to get back its right to the URL “bbcnews.com” after it was cybersquatted. The famous online auction and shopping site eBay discovered more than 1000 similar or confusing domain names to its address and recovered 1,153 domain names by initiating legal action against the cybersquatted domains. eBay’s legal fight is still considered as one of the largest WIPO cybersquatting disputes. The amount of cybersquatting cases is higher than you can imagine and every year the number is climbing upwards. In 2017, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center received 3,074 domain name dispute cases under the “Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)” while in 2018, the number increased to 3,447.

The term squatting denotes unlawfully occupying a property without permission. Nowadays, the term is widely used to refer domain name disputes. Cybersquatting is a situation when your trademark or business name is used by another person by registering a domain name same or similar or confusingly similar to your trademark or business name.

The offence of cybersquatting has been taken seriously by the USA, and thus, it has enacted the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act(ACPA), 1999 where it defines cybersquatting as “registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else”. However, the common law steam is yet to define cybersquatting by legislation, rather it is relying on an international arbitration system created by the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which has adopted the “Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDNDRP)” for resolving domain name disputes.

Can you claim a squatted domain back? Yes, you can! If you are from Bangladesh or any common law country, the best advice for you is to bring an action under the ICANN complaint procedure. However, a very recent case under the ICANN namely Quality Nonsense Limited v. Jerry Sandusky (Claim No. FA1604001668646) confirms that in order to get a domain name cancelled or transferred, a complainant must prove three elements i.e. (a) the domain name has to be identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark; (b) respondent has no rights or legitimate interests on the domain name; and (c) the domain name have been registered and are being used in bad faith. If you believe that you can satisfy these three conditions, you should go for arbitration. Otherwise, if it makes sense, you should pay the squatter!

Nevertheless, it is always better preventing domain disputes than recovering domains.  If you are planning to thrive online business and don’t have a trademark registered on your brand, you should get one immediately. Before you are being hunted by domain squatters and spending substantial amount of money on them, depending on your capacity and business type, you may consider any or more than one of the following advises: (a) before you start your business you may register your desired domain name; (b) you may consider buying similar or confusing domain names as well as necessary multiple extensions; (c) some business entities provide domain ownership protection service, you may try such service; (d) while developing your website, if you are taking help of any other person or website development firm, make sure that all the legal records are registered in your name; (e) never miss a domain renewal deadline; (f) most importantly, you have to create your legal right on the name. Therefore, you should always consider registering trademark on your desired domain name.

While it comes to online businesses, marketing or services, importance of a secured domain name is earthshaking. Throughout the web network your business is identified by your domain name. As domain names are registered internationally and cybersquatters are technologically smarter than most of us, there is always good chance of being victim of cybersquatting if you keep your business name unprotected. Your competitor may register your domain to disrupt competition, or your well-known trademark may be used for making profit by selling counterfeited products or committing fraud, or someone may misuse your name and fame for taking advantages of your hard work.

Being aware of cybersquatting is not an option for you, rather to sustain in global business, you must make sure that your strategies are well protecting your intellectual property rights.

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On April 26, 1970 the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Convention came into force. The WIPO is one of the sixteen specialized agencies of the United Nations having 189 member states. In 2000, WIPO’s member states selected April 26 as the “World Intellectual Property Day”. This year the world is celebrating the World IP Day with an objective of showing how innovation is making our lives healthier, safer and more comfortable by turning problems into progress. More to the point as how intellectual property system supports innovation by attracting investment, rewarding creators, encouraging genius minds to develop their ideas and finally ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators can safely and systematically build on today’s new technology.

Though the journey of Intellectual Property Rights officially commenced in 1970, frustratingly true that Bangladesh, being a member of WIPO since 1985, is still struggling to create IP right awareness among its citizens. I addressed IP, in one of my previous articles, as the next corporate political mechanism to rule the world as IP mainly protects the ownership of ideas or collection of concepts. For example: a simple idea of creating a virtual social network system (Facebook) is now dominating the entire world and sooner Mr. Zuckerberg is going to be the world’s richest person.

Defining Intellectual Property (IP) is as simple as it really aspires to achieve. IP refers to creation of mind: inventions, literary & artistic works, symbols, names and images used for commercial identification. Generally, patents for inventions, trademarks and industrial designs are categorised under the head of industrial property. Similarly, copyrights and geographical indications are two other categories of IP. IP rights can offer protection to an individual owner as well as to an entire nation.

Suppose, you have an idea of inventing a new genre of rice that will provide some basic daily nutrition required by human body, which are not usually supplemented by natural rice. This invention has multi dimensional objectives i.e. it will help the entire human race, it will open an opportunity of doing fair business and also it may bring you rare reputation that can hardly be achieved. Now, to convert your idea into a physical shape you have to conduct sufficient research, shape up the components and finally set out the technology. If you want that this technology should not be used by anyone without your consent then this is an ideal situation when IP rights interfere. Your such a novel and useful invention is well protected as your patent right. However, in its next step you want to introduce your invention commercially to the local and international market in the name: “MentorIP Rice” and you want that no other business entity except yours will use the name mentorIP rice! IP mechanism still protects you under the head of “Trademark” and “Industrial Design” Rights. Your business name, images, logos and symbolic writing style etc. are protected under trademarks. On the other hand, product designs and shapes, packaging style, design of marketing materials etc. are protected under industrial designs.

However, at a stage, you may want to let the world know about the story of your journey towards the successful invention and commercial exploitation of this new genre of rice and may attempt to publish a book. As soon as you are publishing the book it will fall under the protection of you IP right, as Copyright protects literary and artistic works in the mode of the original expression of ideas i.e. books, novels, dramas, paintings, computer programs, sketches, music, songs etc.

More interestingly, a state can also enjoy IP right protection against another state or individual. Recently, Bangladesh has raised a few IP claims against India i.e. Jamdani Sharee, Fazlee Mango etc. Such claims are made under Geographical Indications (GI) Rights. A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place. Since the qualities of some products depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production. Similarly, GI are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts and industrial products.

It must be stressed that in order to get IP protection, saving some exceptions in copyrights, one must have one’s registration certificate first. The ministry of Industries mainly plays the role of registering authority through the Department of Patent, Design and Trademarks (DPDT) which has organised day long programs for celebrating World IP Day, 2017. Conversely, Bangladesh Copyright Office solely controls the copyright registration affairs.

Nevertheless, above all, in this era of globalization, IP law assume much importance as the advanced industrial societies are undergoing a fundamental transformation from capital and labor based economics into knowledge based economics. We have no option left but getting aware of our IP rights. To protect your IP rights, make sure that your employment agreements, licenses, sales contracts and technology transfer agreements etc. protects your intellectual property too. File your registration application as fast as you can!

Author: Shaleh Akram Somrat

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Whether computer softwares are patentable or not is now a much-debated topic in the entire world. For example, in the European Union (EU), a draft Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions has been discussed in order to harmonize the interpretation of the national patentability requirements for computer software-related inventions.  These discussions show their tension regarding this issue. Moreover, the dominance of Internet raises complex issues regarding the enforcement of software patents, as patent protection is provided on a country-by-country basis, and the patent law of each country only takes effect within its own borders.

On the other hand, Bangladesh Patent & Design Act1911 is century-old. Therefore, there is no specific provision for software patenting. However, Bangladesh is a signatory of TRIPS Agreement. According to Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Agreement, a computer program is a type of work which is eligible for getting protection under copyright laws. However, there are little instances that Bangladesh Patent Office issues Letters on Patent for imbedded software related invention.

Nevertheless, the patentability of software and computer-implemented inventions are different under different jurisdictions. In USA obtaining patent on softwares is much easier than other developed countries. The UK follows the European Patent Convention where programmes for computers are excluded from patentability to the extent that a patent application relates to a computer programme. Current UK case laws declared that computer programmes are not inventions, thus not patentable. Similarly, in India a clause to include software patents was quashed by the Indian Parliament and software patents are not accepted by the Indian Patent Office.

Usually, copyright protects the literal expression of computer programmes, it does not protect the ideas underlying the computer program, which often offers considerable commercial value. Though the Copyright Act, 2000 reserves recourses for registration and protection of software programmes in Bangladesh, depending on how the software is used together with the hardware and what you wish to protect from your competitor the patentability may differ.  The core part of your software-related innovation may lie in an apparatus, a system, an algorithm, a method, a network, the processing of data or the software itself.  Such considerations may help you to assess the possibilities of obtaining a patent for your innovation.

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This article is aimed to draw a simple and clear map in the readers’ mind so that they can find this article practically effective. 

Step-1: Trademark Filling

Any person who wants to be an owner of a Trademark, he/she may apply in writing to the Registrar, Department of Patents, Designs & Trademarks (DPDT), Bangladesh in the prescribed manner. All Trademark Forms (TM Forms) are available on the website of DPDT. Anyone can find his/her requisite TM form from the website. Upon receipt of the application, DPDT usually issues Official filing receipt. The receipt copy contains all relevant filing details of the trademark e.g. application number, date of application, the amount of remittance, the trademark, name of receiving staff  and other necessary information.

Please take note that multi-class Trademark filing is not allowed in Bangladesh; rather, only single class Trademark filing is allowed.

Step-2: Examination

New Trademark applications are examined by the trademark examiner within 2-4 months of filing. If TM application satisfies all requirements then the respective examiner, on behalf of Registrar, shall issue a letter of acceptance for the mark to be advertised in the Trademarks Journal. If TM application does not satisfy all requirements, then the examiner will issue objection notice.

Step-3: Reply of objection or objection hearing

Any objection given by the examiner may be dissolved in two ways i.e. reply of objection and objection hearing. If the authority is satisfied after the representation or hearing then the next step will be publication. Otherwise, the original TM application will be treated as rejected and the trademark is denied to be registered by the authority.


Step-4: Publication

Subject to the deposition of publication fees, the accepted mark to be published in Trademark Journal provided the trademark has been accepted by the examiner.

Step-5: Opposition (If required)

When a trademark is advertised in the Trademark Journal, any person may oppose on Form TM-5 within two months from the date of the publication.

Step-6: Registration

If no opposition is filed against the published Trademark, then the applicant will be asked for depositing registration fees. Upon receiving the registration fee, the Registrar will issue the Registration Certificate within 2-6 months from the date of depositing of registration fees.


Step-7: Rectification:

Any person, who is aggrieved, may file rectification case in the prescribed manner against the impugned registered Trademark either before the Registrar of Trademarks or before the Hon’ble High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh to cancel the registration of the same.

Validity of Trademark

Initially, a registered trademark is valid for Seven years from the date of filing and renewable thereafter for periods of Ten years in each term to an indefinite period, in terms of depositing renewal fee.

Please be informed that you may find the Trademark Office making undue delays in forwarding the files than the processing time stipulated for each step. This is because of the shortage of employees that is causing huge workload on the office staffs.

Author: Barrister Shaleh Akram Somrat

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I am a 30 year-old-woman. I got married in 2014. Before that I worked as a receptionist in a renowned business firm. As I never intended to go against my parents wish I married a 37 years old businessman of their choice.  But on our first night I found out his reluctance in cohabitation which seemed wired to me but not unusual as this was our first stay together.  But my doubt grounded strong when I realized that he is incompetent of establishing sexual cohabitation. My heart was broken when he confessed to me that he has been impotent for so long which he kept hidden from my parents. I took him to doctor and kabiraj but his situation did not improve. I had a dream of having a heavenly family with my husband and children. Now my dream is doomed. Initially I kept it hidden from my parents, but later, finding no other effective way I told my parents about the matter.  They told to me to procure a divorce. But I know nothing about the procedure. Can I divorce him on the ground of impotency? My dower money was fixed 10 lac, in this respect how much money I have to relinquish?  I shall be ever grateful if you please tell me in details the exact process by which I can divorce my husband.

Khadijatul kubra priya  

Lalbag, Dhaka.


Your query can easily be divided into two parts: i) whether you have the right to divorce. If then, what is the appropriate process? ii) After declaring divorce what would be the possible settlement against your dower claim? Followings are the straightforward solutions for you:

Divorce Process: Your name suggests that you are a Muslim, thus, the Rules of Muslim Law will apply to your case. A muslim woman can declare a divorce to her husband if the Kabinnama Empowers her with that right; and containing such a clause has been made mandatory by the Government (usually clause 18 of the Kabinnama contains this condition). This is called Talaq-e-Tawfiz. Nevertheless, the reason you mentioned here (impotency of your husband, for which you may get a decree in favour of declaration of divorce from the family court as well) is one of the crucial reasons for what a wife can enjoy the right to declare divorce to her husband. In such a case you may start the separation process amicably (Talaq-e-Khula) or you can declare divorce to your husband and send a notice to him and the authority concern (Talaq-e-Tawfiz). Though Talaq-e-Khula commences its functions expeditiously and you may get your divorce certificate immediately; you may have to abandon your dower claims in this way. Thus, the only process best suits to you is using the method of Talaq-e-Tawfiz. The process is very simple and requires multi-folded steps. Step-1: You will declare Talaq and make written document of it (through your appointed lawyer or government Nikah Registrar or by yourself). Step-2: instantaneously send the Talaq notice (registered post is preferred) to the addresses of your husband and the concern government authority (usually City Corporation or Municipality Office) and wait for 90 days (three months). Step-3: The authority will start an Arbitration Case and set a date in each month to keep the door of negotiation open. Step-4: If within the 3 dates (3 months) no settlement is agreed then the authority will issue an Order accordingly. Step-5: Collect the Order sheet of the Arbitration Case and go to a local Nikah & Divorce Registrar’s Office (Kazi Office). They will check the “Balam Book” and after a formal verification will issue a Divorce Certificate accordingly.

Afterwards, if you want to marry again you must wait for 3 period circles that is to say that you must observe Iddath Period. Nevertheless, the law suggests that your husband may seek time before the family court (usually 1 year) to overcome the medical condition (impotency) through appropriate treatment and may be allowed to the same but as your case suggests that he already exhausted this process too, in my opinion, there is no legal bar to proceed for declaring divorce.

It is noteworthy that in Hindu Law there is no concept of divorce. Thus, a hindu man/woman may prepare a “Deed on Declaration of Separation” whereby, all the legal rights and liabilities will be declared to have terminated!


Dower Money: Sexual intercourse purifies the right to dower. If you two have not, at all, gone through any sexual activities, you will be entitled to half of the amount of total dower money (if any portion is realized at the time of or after marriage, that amount shall be deducted). Conversely, if the marriage is consummated or sexual intercourse has been performed then you will be entitled to the entire amount of dower money (i.e. 10 lacs).

Hope, you got your answers. Thank you for your queries.

Shaleh Akram Somrat


Supreme Court of Bangladesh

Link: https://www.observerbd.com/2016/01/28/133277.php

Last winter vacation, I went to my parent’s house in my home district. We are three brothers. One lives in Australia with his wife and the other one lived here with his family. I got involved in a quarrel with my brother over some money which my father gave him for business purpose. Later my brother’s brother-in-law, a local AL leader complained against me in local police station and tried to force the OC of PS to arrest me on the plea that I have broken all the valuable things of his sister. As the  O.C refused of filing the false case  he became very angry with the OC and by using political influence posted that OC in remote area. After that incident, I along with my parents came back to Dhaka. By this time new OC joined in that PS and that political leader used him to made false GD on his self-made complaint. After my post-graduation, I applied five times in different govt organisations and was selected. But in every case my police report came negative. By this way my career has been ruined totally. My question is-


  1. What legal action can I take against that leader/political person due to his this type of heinous act?
  2. Is there any legal way so that the criminal record which has been lodged against me could be void?
  3. What is the legal basis upon which employers (govt/private) can overlook this false allegation recorded against me?
  4. What is the legal step to stop this heinous act done by the political leaders forever, so that none can dare to do this type of act and ruin any body’s career?
  5. Is it legal on the part of police to consider family matter as criminal offense? Please advice.

Monirul Islam Sahbag, Dhaka.

After perusing your problem I find a blend of social, legal and political aspects though I prefer to remark your case mainly as a social problem. It is very difficult to answer the issues at your satisfaction from exclusive legal point of view. Whatever happened between you and your brother’s family is totally unfortunate and may come within the ambit of “Family Matters”. It is said that causing little damage to households at the spur of the moment should not be the concern of law or of any outsider; as law usually tends to overlook trivial issues that we face in our everyday life. Also law has categorised criminal activities as cognizable and non-cognizable according to the degree of potential harm. When any issue attracts the ingredients of any of the offences as defined in the Penal Code or any other punitive law, then police may interfere through their own course or on the basis of written complain. You have raised several questions; it is better to answer them categorically.

Firstly, do you have any concrete prove that that political leader is mastering the key to make negative police report? If not, in this circumstance, you cannot take any action against the political leader. Nevertheless, you may entry a separate GD recording the entire fact of harm you are suffering from and your suspicion in this respect as well. If you can collect sufficient evidence of that political leader’s involvement with these heinous activities, this GD may supplement you to start a successful criminal action against him (your situation may potentially attract the provisions of section 120 Kha, 209, 211 and 500 etc. of the Penal Code, 1860). Secondly, it is not clear from the fact that whether any formal criminal complaint has been initiated against you or they have merely recorded the matter in the General Diary (GD). I find no reason that a mere GD will be so strongly influential to compel a negative police report. Besides, I am not sure about what exactly he recorded in the GD. A GD entry without fulfilling the requirements of FIR cannot be said as the initiation of a criminal proceeding [10 BLC (HCD) 565]. If no formal criminal process is lodged, you may bring the matter in the concern of your local councilor or chairman and if required, journalists. Or you may directly write to your local SP.  It would be better to solve the issue socially. There is nothing to make void unless a legal process is in action.

Thirdly, if there is no criminal case against you, I find no reason to provide a negative report. The Govt. and the NGO’s, as of practice, make recruitment subject to the police report. Govt. can, if so wants, verify the police dossier but the NGO’s do not have any mechanism to do so. As far as I know, NSI personnel generally inquire and prepare such report. In that case, that officer is supposed to visit to your given address. You should try contact him directly at the local office and explain the entire thing, if you feel necessary. Or you may try next exam providing a separate (current) address.

Your forth question has no satisfactory legal solution. This issue needs social research. Mentioning social awareness, rule of law, political honesty, transparent political practice and accountability can theoretically be an answer to avoid this question.

Finally, Police is not usually empowered to interfere with anybody’s family problem unless that goes scale far from addressing as trivial. If the offence is cognizable in nature, then police may interfere directly; no matter if the conflicting parties are family members.

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Did you know that if you have children you are a potential international criminal? Did you know that someone has a claim of ownership over children’s exercises like ‘leap frog’? Did you know that a company owns patent ownership of pigs? No matter how bizarre you find these matters, you might be experiencing these types of issues in the near future! Critics claim that the U.S. Patent Office seems to have lost their collective minds thus accepting such strange applications. However, you may ask, what U.S. is going to do with such strange claims? In reality, not only U.S. but also most of the developed countries are involved in a secret fight using a new mechanism which might lawfully establish and secure their commercial strength as well as political influence in the near future!

The mechanism is better addressed as the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Protection mechanism. Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, Industrial Designs, Geographical Indications and Trade Secrets are the instruments of this mechanism which include your inventions, your works in the field of art and literature, your identity in the commercial world, your culture, heritage and traditional practices. To concise, whatever is unique, beautiful and bears some value comes under the IPR mechanism.

I am here not to discuss what IPR is! Rather I will try to click my readers’ brain with its social, economic and political strength as well as how the first world is planning to establish a realm of corporate slavery!

As human being is ingenious in nature, the chain of introducing new ideas and inventing new things or presenting old inventions in new fashion will continue till the last breath of the world. At the same time, globalization is making the world smaller providing more opportunities to mix up cultures as well as adopting another’s ideas. Ordinary people will find no wrong here but here is the inception of intellectual war. Such intellectual controversy can be found in years back in the “Calculus Controversy” between the famous scientists Isaac Newton v. Gottfried Wilheld Leibniz. Both claimed as to be the father of the study of Calculus. However, historians accept both as co-inventor, having come to the idea independently of each other! In addition, you must remember our own scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose whom we claim as the real inventor of Marconi’s Wireless Detector!

The IPR dictates for the person who has got registration for his invention or work. Generally, Patents, Trademarks and Industrial Designs are territorial and must be filed in each country where protection is sought (Though some treaties like the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Madrid Protocol offers protection in multiple countries through one application). On the other hand, Copyright, to some extent, enjoys universal application as most countries do not require copyright registration in order to enjoy copyright protection. However, in addition to a proof of ownership, registration can offer several benefits.

Intellectual Property Rights- as Corporate Political Instrument

The developed countries are more concerned about the IPR implementation and registration of their inventions or work with the vision of establishing a proprietary market advantage and protecting core technologies and business methods. In contrast, the developing or less developed countries hold a view that strict IP laws bar them to use the developed countries’ ideas and technologies for their own benefit as prior authorization is needed, and the authorization process involves pecuniary consideration that sometimes costs a lot and eventually shuts their facilities down. Nevertheless, the underdeveloped countries are being allured in many by the developed countries to implement IP rights in their respective countries by offering incentives or rewards. (The World Trade Organization administered (WTO) TRIPS treaty offers some incentives to underdeveloped countries.

If you think that it is better not to implement IP laws in Bangladesh and not to get involved in international mechanisms as well as keep copying the new ideas, technologies, and works from other countries; I must say: you are living in the world of fools! Firstly, we have no way open to escape our liability to the international community as the international rules are designed and devised by influential quarters. Secondly, though it sounds strange, the truth is that developed countries are also stealing ideas, works, and heritages from less developed countries more frequently than you can imagine. I better set some examples: We all know about “BASMATI RICE” a type of native rice in our country, also harvested in some parts of India. A few years ago, a U.S. company filed for a patent on Basmati Rice in the U.S. office and got registration. Then the Company tried to stop harvesting and farming Basmati rice in India and Southeast Asia by claiming its Royalty!  However, the Indian government tackled the issue strongly and rejected U.S. claims saying that it is registered as their regional food. Do you know what Bangladesh did? Absolutely nothing! Because on that moment, surprisingly, we had no legal forum to protect our culture and geographical heritage! Another example can be drawn by referring to Jamdani Saree &Nakshikantha. Our dominant neighbor India has already got their registration on these two items as India’s Geographical Indicated product from Andhra Pradesh. Still, there are many more issues that India has attempted to take from our culture by registering and declaring as its geographical heritage like Fazli Mango, Bamboo streamed rice, etc.


In addition, you might have heard of the famous song “Janam Tere Payer main…” from the Indian movie “Murder”. The entire song (lyric & music) was copied from the popular song “Nissho Korecho Amay…” by a Bangladeshi popular band Miles. There are many more examples that can be drawn here. Unknown to us, our inventions, works, cultures& heritages are being stolen frequently only because of our lack of awareness and feeble IP management mechanism. The first world is already well equipped with their resources for protecting their own inventions and identity, both in national and international forum.

TRIPS agreement, being the most ambitious and influential instrument for IPR mechanism, obliges developed countries to provide technical and financial cooperation in favour of developing and less developed countries to facilitate the implementation of their IPR mechanism as per the covenants of TRIPS, which is a wining contribution for the developed countries as strict implementation of IP laws will ultimately benefit the developed countries to increase its industrial capacity and market demand safely in the developing and less developed countries. With the benefit of higher level of IPR protection, the already advanced and well-equipped, developed countries will easily control the market of other countries. Even if, technologies and knowledge were transferred for free, it will be of no use to the developing/less developed countries, firstly because, IPR mechanism will control the unauthorized reproduction or reuse of those transferred technologies; and secondly, authorization will cost royalties by which major portion of income will go into the pocket of the developed countries.

Controlling the commercial world through IPR

The IPR mechanism has already taken its stance as an influential commercial instrument. IP jurisprudence protects every commercially important registered works from being copied or used without permission. The mechanism is monitored and controlled by several international treaties & protocols, amongst those Paris Convention, 1883 for patents, Berne Convention 1886 for Copyrights, Madrid Protocol, 1991 for marks, Hague Agreement, 1925 for Designs and WTO administered TRIPS, 1994 for overall IPR mechanism are mention worthy. It is noteworthy that the rules regarding the protection of intellectual property not only influence matters that governs cross border trade, but also have a direct impact on the framework affecting foreign direct invention and innovation. Reality shows that developed countries indirectly compel less developed countries to enter into bilateral and multilateral treaties, the pressure of which causes the developing and less developed countries to enact non-practical and frustrating laws that hinder its Intellectual potentials. Normally, liberal international rules do not apply in between countries in presence of bilateral treaties. For example: TIFFA treaty between Bangladesh and America is, in my opinion, a commercial burden for Bangladesh. In near future, we may have to pay handsome amount of money for using some facilities what we are now using free i.e. software. Imposing trade restrictions and refusing to provide tariffs (as U.S.A. is denying providing us GSP tariff) are some examples of pressure mechanism.

However, getting a registration for any IP product opens many windows to commercial prosperity by establishing proprietary market advantage, attracting investors and providing higher economic return. The IPR mechanism left you no space vacant to sleep over your rights. If you do so, you may have to end up paying to buy your own brain child. Medicines, foods, life-style, technologies are the main points of attraction to the Corporate giants. If we fail to balance in between the constant pressure of the developed world and our rights and interest, our time to weep is imminent.

What Bangladesh should do?

Bangladesh may find some international IP mechanisms burdensome, while being a less developed country, she enjoys some incentives as well. Recently, WTO extended the exemption period from paying patent royalty on drugs till 2032.That means we can copy and develop pharmaceutical products without paying any patent royalty to any country till 2032.We should take the 100% advantage of this prospect. There is no better option than creating mass awareness. Bangladesh needs three-tier strategy: national, regional and international. As bilateral treaties can debar us from getting the benefits of International treaties the policy makers should acquire clear understanding regarding the IPR matters and be more operational to protect the national interest. In addition, general people should be well informed and aware of their rights regarding their works and inventions. We have the longest natural sandy unbroken beach in Cox’s Bazar, the largest Mangrove Forest (Sundarban), the Hilsa Fish, a highly rich culture and abundant of natural heritages etc. to introduce Bangladesh in a different way. IPR makes a way out to promote socio-economic development and ensure higher economic benefit through Branding Bangladesh. Thanks to the Government for implementing the Geographical Indication Act, at last, in 2013 and registering Hilsa Fish, Jamdani Sharee and Fazli Mango as Bangladesh’s GI product. Hope in future we will not have to struggle before the International Society in reclaiming our own belongings like Nakshikatha, Basmati Rice etc. Hope, our government will take effective steps to cancel other country’s registration on our products! Besides, the TRIPS agreement keeps an option of reviewing the impact of the agreement open to the signing countries which can positively be used to save the collective interest of the developing and less developed countries.

What an Individual should do?

If you have an invention (Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed) or a unique work or writing; and if you want to keep it protected in order to use it commercially; you should, without any confusion, take your registration on it first. Even if, you don’t have any such intention, if you want to run further research or development on your work, you should have your protection first because no one knows what luck your simple invention might bring to you (I should mention here the ownership controversy of Face Book; Mark Zuckerberg has already became one of the richest persons of the world). You should take professional help of an IP lawyer most importantly as the application process involves many legal and technical issues which may bring you an abortive conclusion. Keep your secrets secret until you have filed an application for registration. Do not discuss to anyone or write to any journal before securing your interest. Once you have your registration you will have option to deal with i.e. you may transfer or sale or lease your invention. As an individual can avail the option of international protection after getting national registration, some intelligent inventors will use IPR mechanism as a door to enter into international business market for improving financial performances. And, the sooner you become responsive, the better result it will offer for you!

Post Corona virus era

The post Corona virus world will be a changed world in terms of commercial and political polarization. IPR mechanism has both the aspects: we can rule or be ruled! In other words, it has the power to make us corporate slave, if we keep sleeping over our rights. Alternatively, it can be administered as the easiest way of getting benefited by our inventions, works, identity and heritages. As being a less developed country, we have points of arguments as well as scope of negotiation with the modern giant corporate leaders; who will, by hook or crook, make their way out to make money by selling their ideas to us; if possible, selling our own ideas to us! It is the high time to be aware, to be proactive on our own rights. You might not be an entrepreneur, but you have an idea that you would like to see exploited, it might have the potential to gift you a better future, to give us a better world. A huge battle in the courts around the world is currently taking place over these rights that may bring positive changes in the governing laws. Before it is too late, before the flexible laws change and before the corporate giants become harsh on us; we should start working on this issue to protect individual interest as well as collective interest of our country.

The Author is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and the Head of Chambers of MentorIP Bangladesh.

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