ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, on Tuesday, promulgated the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Ordinance 2012.
Now IPO will have the power to form a board and exercise its powers for giving legal cover to local and foreign businesses and bound law enforcement agencies in inflicting and protecting trademark, copyright and patent infringement laws.
Pakistan is currently on the United States’ “Priority Watch List”, regarding protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and is making hectic efforts to come out of the list to boost foreign businesses, trade and investment in the country.
“The IPO had sent to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) our plans about the enforcement of the IPRs in the country and our administration resolve to maintain and encourage effective IPR protection and we hope that Pakistan will come out of this red zone [priority watch list],” sources said.
Last year, the USTR annual ‘Special 301 Report’ that reviewed trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights, put 12 countries on it Priority Watch List including: China, Russia, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand and Venezuela.
The USTR appreciated progress in the enforcement of IPR in 2010 which included improved cooperation between the copyright industry and enforcement authorities, as well as more vigorous enforcement against optical disc and book piracy.
However, it said that widespread copyright piracy (including book piracy and piracy of software programs in enterprises), as well as trademark counterfeiting still persists. It also asked Pakistan to provide ex-officio authority to its enforcement officials, and to provide for deterrent-level penalties for IPR violations. It also called for further work to reform Pakistan’s copyright law.
The IPO Ordinance would ensure establishment of a high-powered policy board, which will be comprised of secretary interior, chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, Federal Board of Revenue and heads key enforcement agencies.
Legally protecting the registered businesses under the IPO laws through controlling counterfeiting, unlawful use of trademark, copyright and patents will help boosting business, trade and investment.
FIA has already established dedicated IPR Cell but it is not fully functional, while the IG Police has already consented for its creation and talks for establishment of IPR Cell in Customs are underway.