Footwear Industry Seeks Collective Trademark

Footwear Industry Seeks Collective Trademark (Nepal)

September 11, 2013

The Nepal Footwear and Leather Goods Manufacturers Association (NFLGMA) has applied for a collective trademark for use on locally manufactured products to assure buyers of their quality. According to the association, the trademark will be used after the Dashain festival in October if the government gives the go-ahead.

NFLGMA President Hom Nath Upadhyaya said they had recently applied to the Department of Industry for its approval. “We have submitted the required documents along with the code of conduct and the design of the logo,” he said.

According to Upadhyaya, the department has issued a 90-day public notice to ensure that the trademark has not already been registered to another company or individual. The domestic footwear market has been shifting from imports to locally made products of late. The increased demand for domestic models has been attributed to an improvement in quality and reasonable prices. The expanded market has encouraged local manufacturers to diversify and produce sports and casual shoes in addition to their regular products which consist of party and school shoes.

Although the Nepali footwear industry has taken a big leap forward, the quality of local products are still a matter of concern. Manufacturers have even been accused of selling imported products as their own. If the collective trademark is issued, it could help maintain the quality of Nepali footwear, traders said.

So far, two Nepali products — pashmina and coffee — have been issued collective trademarks. Upadhyaya said the use of a collective trademark on Nepali footwear would help discourage the malpractices seen in the domestic market. “Manufacturers will have to abide by the code of conduct to maintain their quality after they use the trademark,” he added.

There are 70 shoes manufacturers affiliated to the association. According to the NFLGMA, it will issue the collective trademark to manufacturers after testing the quality of their products. In addition, a monitoring committee consisting of representatives from the association, Ministry of Industry and Chamber of Commerce has been formed to keep an eye on possible misuse of the trademark.

According to the association, Nepali shoes account for more than 50 percent of the national market. An estimated 50 million pairs of footwear products are consumed in the domestic market annually.