(WIPO code: BT) (latest review September 2021)

by KATZAROV S.A., Geneva, Switzerland

General Information

Area

46,660 sq. km.

Population

857,423 (estimated July 2021).

Capital

Thimphu.

Languages

Dzongkha (official), Nepali.

Currency

both ngultrums and Indian rupees are legal tender.

General Remarks

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a sovereign, independent country located in the eastern part of the Himalayas. It is a buffer state between Tibet (China) in the north, and India (Sikkim to the west, Assam to the south, and Arunachal Pradesh to the east). The inhabitants of Bhutan are mainly Drukpas (75%) living in the hinterland, while Lhotsampas (25%) of Nepalese origin live along the southern foothills. Mahayana form of Buddhism -Kaygupa is the State form of religion (75%) and Hinduism (22%) is mostly practiced by the Lhotsampas.

By a treaty of peace and friendship signed with India in 1949, the defense of Bhutan is to be provided by India. It was renegotiated in 2007 eliminating this clause although continuing a close coordination. Bhutan joined the U.N. in 1971. The Kingdom of Bhutan switched to a new system of government based on true democratic principles. The drafted Constitution envisaged a democratically elected government through two rounds of elections – primary for party elections (multi-party) and General elections (two-party system). After public consultations covering all twenty Dzongkhags (districts) the country’s first parliament was elected in March 2008. The first Constitution was ratified on July 18, 2008 and the Kingdom of Bhutan is now a democratic constitutional monarchy. Except for the sovereignty, welfare and security concerns of the Nation, all the rest of the powers rests with the elected government.

Agriculture is the basic economic activity focused mainly on food (rice, wheat, millet, maize) and cash crops (oranges, apples, potato and cardamom).

The chief industries are timber, cement, hydropower, calcium carbide, and ferro-alloys. Hydropower is the main source of revenue for the country, the bulk of the power being exported to India.

The tourist industry, with its policy of restrictive and high value tourism, is one of the main foreign exchange earners.

Remarks on industrial property: The Intellectual Property Division (IPD) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs is responsible for administration of the industrial property system. The IPD is presently comprised of the Registry of Trademarks (established in 1997), the Registry of Patents (established in March 2012), the Registry of Industrial Designs (established on May 1, 2009) and the Copyright Office.