LAHORE: Pakistan has by and large world class intellectual property rights (IPR) laws but lack their effective use, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) President Irfan Siddiqui said in a statement issued on Monday.

The statement, issued on the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day, stressed that protection of IPR in Pakistan is critical for attracting and retaining FDI in the country. “Laws which give a strong protection to IPR play a key role in encouraging innovation and creativity,” Mr Siddiqui said.

“IPR protection motivates innovators, promotes business growth, creates employment, diversifies the choice of products available to consumers, as well as attracts new FDI and promotes innovation and jobs. Without adequate IP protection, local innovators are unable to attract investments, business creation is slow, and jobs lost,” the OICCI statement read.

While appreciating various initiative of the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan (IPO-P) towards facilitating IP protection and rationalising the associated costs, the OICCI called for full digitalisation and fast turnaround timing for the registration process for IPR (copyrights, patents and trademarks) to facilitate all IPR owners.

“This is needed to encourage new innovators and SMEs to opt for IP registration. Moreover, a fast track resolution of the IP disputes with enhanced capacity and knowledge sharing on IPR in special courts/tribunals is expected to accelerate new registration of IPR and build positive image for the country,” Mr Siddiqui said.

This year’s World Intellectual Property Rights Day theme “IP & SMEs: Taking your ideas to market” is expected to help highlight the fact that a strong IPR is not only a requirement for multinationals, but a key point for all commercial entities and consumers.

Pakistan’s recent accession to the Madrid Protocol has given local businesses, especially exporters, protection of their Trade Marks in 196 different member countries. There are various indigenous Geographical Indication (GI) products in Pakistan like Peshawari chappals, Ajrak print and Sindhri mangoes. “The GI (Registration and Protection) Act 2020 is crucial to secure worldwide recognition of the Pakistani products and has helped establish a system for the registration and protection of GI rights in Pakistan,” the OICCI statement added.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2021

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