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March 15, 2017

Pakistan, China likely to sign accord to protect intellectual property rights


March 15, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are expected to sign an agreement to enhance cooperation in the field of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in order to protect trademarks, patents and copyrights in the two neighbouring countries, a top official said on Tuesday.

Shahid Rashid, chairman of Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) said a five-member delegation of State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China would be visiting Islamabad on March 21-22.

“It is expected that a memorandum of understanding will also be signed between IPO-Pakistan and SIPO-China during the visit to enhance cooperation for the promotion of IPRs in both the countries,” Rashid told journalists at a news conference.  He reiterated IPO-Pakistan’s commitment to comply with all the international obligations pertaining to intellectual property rights. 

IPO chairman said the country’s first-ever national IP strategy is at the final stage of consultation with the stakeholders. Two sessions have already been held in Islamabad and Karachi and the final seminar is being held in Lahore on March 20. The strategy will be presented to the cabinet for approval. 

“As a result of improved IP management and attention to enforcement, Pakistan has been removed from the US priority watch list in 2016,” he added. “This development augurs well for trade and commerce as it precludes any adverse action due to any laxity in the IP management.”

Rashid said IPO-Pakistan has also finalised geographical protection bill after due consultation. “This bill is likely to be enacted in the tenure of current parliament.” He said the IPO will celebrate ‘World IP day’ on April 26. 

IPO has so far registered 123,000 trademarks, 25,311 patents and 32,000 copyrights. It came into being in 2005 through a presidential ordinance. In December 2012, the IPO Act was enacted. 

The organisation will start one-window operation from March 31 to facilitate businesses. It will start one-window services in Karachi to resolve IPR-related matters. All the three registries, including trademark, patent and copyright have already been housed at the central location.

“We will continue to facilitate public for IP-related services at the international level,” Rashid said. He said since its inception IPO-Pakistan took a number of initiatives. All national IP laws relating to patent, copyrights and trademarks have been updated. IP tribunals in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad were established for effective and efficient adjudication of IP disputes. IPO has also signed memorandum of understandings with the Federal Board of Revenue and law enforcement agencies for effective IPR enforcement and coordination.

Rashid said the organisation is, however, running without service rules. Till July last, the IPO was running under the administrative control of the cabinet division. The ministry of commerce has moved a summary to the Prime Minister to get control of IPO. The service rules have finally been sent to the establishment division. It is expected to be finalised soon, he added. “Around 50 percent posts are still vacant because we don’t have service rules.”    IPO has proposed 50 percent rise in its fees of registering trademark, patent and copyrights.


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