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November 26, 2020

‘Foreign firms lose up to 20pc revenues to IP violations’

Business

November 26, 2020

KARACHI: Foreign investors lose five to 20 percent of their revenues to intellectual property violations in Pakistan due to apathy of the government to enforce copy rights and consumer unawareness, according to a survey.

The survey by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) found that intellectual property rights (IPR) protection does not attract due attention from some key stakeholders, including the government, law enforcement agencies, media and the consumers.

OICCI on Wednesday announced key findings of its latest IPR survey. The OICCI IPR survey 2020 conducted during September-October reflects the assessment of the foreign investors on the state of intellectual property protection in the country. Effective protection of IPR comprising of copyrights, patents and trade mark is critical for attracting and retaining foreign direct investments in the country, said the OICCI.

“Despite some improvement in the priority watch list in USTR [United States Trade Representative] 2016, Pakistan IPR environment has failed to instill a sense of confidence among the foreign investors and IP owners,” Haroon Rashid, president of OICCI said in a statement.

“IPR protection will help create an enabling environment for innovation and creativity and attract FDI and retain talented and innovative individuals in the country.”

Forty two percent of the respondents said they report revenue losses ranging from 5 to more than 20 percent due to IPR violations. Long drawn judicial proceedings, lack of awareness and appreciation about IPR, and lengthy timelines for granting IP rights are some of the key concerns

Overall 40 percent of the respondents said it takes 1 to 3 years to resolve a standard IPR dispute. Respondents also expressed concern over IPR violation’s penalties being insufficient to act as a deterrent. The IP tribunals are not fully functional.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the OICCI members prefer reliance on their own resources for monitoring threat of IPR violations.

“However, there is a great desire for all the IP owners to work in partnership with the government authorities for a better IPR regime in Pakistan,” said the OICCI having 200 members who represent 35 countries and 14 economic sectors.

The foreign investors participating in the survey expect that IPR regulator will take the lead in strengthening IPR regime, automate and fast track process of registering IP, promote awareness on the importance of IPR and its impact for business/investment, upgrade skills and motivate law enforcement agencies to proactively arrest the abuse of IPR.