Nepal - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property
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Developments During the Last Five Years

Nepal has recognized the importance of prioritizing the development of robust IP protection and enforcement systems.  As a result, in 2017, the Government of Nepal formulated its IP policy with the objective to make IP a national priority, emphasizing the valuable role IP plays in global socio-economic development.

USG Engagement

Engagement with Nepal on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) continues, primarily through the U.S.-Nepal Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).  In addition, the United States and Nepal continue to work together to support Nepal’s efforts to develop a stronger IP ecosystem.  The U.S. government also interacts with Customs, Police, and Judicial officials, as well as industry organizations to discuss ways to strengthen IP enforcement in Nepal.

Legislative Climate

Under the existing IPR regime, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, & Supplies’ Department of Industry looks after patent and trademark issues while the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation oversees copyright issues.

Nepal has a consolidated act on IP – The Patent, Design and Trademark Act that provides protection for industrial property including patents, designs, and trademarks.  Patent protection is afforded to inventions; principles and formulae; and design protection including physical shape and appearance.  Trademark protections include the word, sign, picture, or combination thereof to differentiate the product from others in the market.

  • The Copyright Act of 2002 covers most modern forms of authorship and provides for adequate periods of protection.
  • Nepal is a member of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Paris Convention for Industrial Property.
  • The Department of Industry acts as a semi-judiciary unit in cases of protection of industrial property as well as in the settlement of disputes and other administrative procedures.
  • Pending Legislation/Bill Pending Parliamentary Approval

The IP policy of 2017 serves as the foundation for a draft law on IPR.  This draft is still under governmental review.  The draft legislation represents a substantial improvement over existing IP laws and regulations and endeavors to codify all industrial property laws in one place.  Once enacted, the law on IPR aims to bring the Nepalese national law in line with international IP standards.  The law as currently drafted introduces several industrial property concepts and good practices, such as:

  • The concept of national treatment (foreign IP shall be accorded national treatment equal to a domestic IP);
  • An electronic system for registration and administration of IP rights;
  • The concept of well-known trademarks;
  • Provisions that pertain to compulsory licensing;
  • Regulation of anti-competitive practices with regard to licensing;
  • The patent law concepts of patentability, novelty, inventive step and Industrial applicability;
  • Geographical indications and trade secrets as IP rights;
  • A single government entity to enforce the full range of IPR issues.

Enforcement Climate

Nepal’s IPR laws and regulations are outdated, ineffective, and only sporadically enforced.  Nepal faces serious challenges in preventing the sale of counterfeit goods because of a lack of IP awareness and a modern IP law.  Enforcement of IPR violations is sporadic at best.  Law enforcement officials do not receive adequate training on IPR issues and offenders can often pay small bribes to avoid prosecution.

In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective protection of their intellectual property.  For additional information, visit website >or contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Stevan Mitchell at


Mr. John Cabeca, U.S. Intellectual Property Attaché for South Asia,

American Center, 24 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, 110001

+91 11 2347 2000