As we are fully aware of the fact that in this era of knowledge based economies, intellectual property is a major driver of any nation’s wealth, through protection and promotion of innovation and creativity. In the back drop of ongoing globalization, intellectual property management has assumed a critical role as a major driver of wealth creation in competitive economies. Sustainable economic growth also largely depends on Hi-Tech R&D bases of the country and efficient knowledge input in the economy for innovation and creativity. The realization that IP is a powerful driver of innovation and creativity for wealth creation is immensely growing in the world. In Pakistan, in order to effectively utilize the IP mechanism for national wealth creation Government of Pakistan established IPO-Pakistan in April, 2005. IPO-Pakistan made it a foremost responsibility to address institutional weaknesses which were impeding an efficient utilization of IP system in Pakistan.
As a matter of fact, IPO-Pakistan is now one of the very few most integrated IP Organizations in the world. The Public Outreach Programme of IPO-Pakistan for enhancing IP awareness in the country has also been successful. Almost all the stakeholders in the public and private sectors including Government Ministries and Departments, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Agencies in the enforcement chain, Academia, Universities, Bar Associations, students and the SME clusters are continuously being approached with customized IP awareness programs. As a result, IPO-Pakistan has been able to establish strong linkages with a wide range of stake holding institutions. These linkages are now being effectively leveraged for enhancing IP awareness and implementation.
There has been a visible shift in the economic map of the world. The shift is from the brawn to the brain and from the tangible to the intangible. The new millennium can be defined as ‘the Brain Age’ as compared to ‘the Brawn Age’ of the yonder years. In the backdrop of this global paradigm shift, the significance of Intellectual Property management is being increasingly recognized in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan seriously perceives the twin menace of counterfeiting and piracy as major threats to the ongoing high growth mode of Pakistan economy which has been constantly maintaining an average growth rate of seven percent for the past several years. That is precisely why the Government has put in place a very strong IP legislation in compliance with the TRIPS requirements to protect Intellectual Property in Pakistan. This major policy shift in Pakistan is mainly aimed at upgrading the institutional infrastructure to address the administrative and legal shortcomings which were previously impeding the efficient and effective management of IP in Pakistan. Piracy has been made a police cognizable and non-bailable crime. Thus piracy has been bracketed with the most heinous crimes like murder and high treason. This is therefore a high visibility of Pakistan’s Copyright law which few countries of the world can match. Counterfeiting also attracts very serious punishments.
The enforcement dimension of intellectual property is increasingly being perceived in Pakistan as ‘critical’ for sustaining and strengthening the national economy. The property, tangible or intangible, essentially implies the concept of ownership. Misappropriation of property is a very serious moral and legal offence. Therefore, intangible assets in the form of Intellectual Property need to be protected from misappropriation as effectively as the tangible assets are protected.
Law is as good as it is implemented as they say. Weak enforcement has been a serious problem in Pakistan. The Government has therefore established IPO-Pakistan as a focal organization to coordinate and monitor IPR enforcement by all agencies in the enforcement chain. The Management of IPO-Pakistan has set-up its organizational priorities as follows:
- Enhancing awareness by launching a well coordinated and highly sustained Public Outreach Program;
- Improving service delivery by upgrading the institutional infrastructure; improving automation for addressing the digital deficit; and business process re-engineering for rationalizing the operating procedures;
- Enforcement coordination by providing productive platforms for developing enforcement agency-right holder interfaces; and
- Capacity building for higher order professionalization of a critical mass of human resource for sustaining and strengthening the fast improving IP environment in Pakistan.
We believe, IPO-Pakistan alone cannot implement the immense agenda of establishing an effective IP regime, without the active support of all the stake holders. I would here like to emphasize the role of print and electronic media in the creation of awareness regarding the IP rights among the masses. An effective communication campaign is required to be launched through mass media in this respect. The media should also highlight the violation of IP rights throughout the country and keep a close liaison with IPO-Pakistan.
A lot of efforts are required to be made to eliminate the menace of counterfeiting and piracy from top to bottom from the country. With our firm resolve and cooperation of all the stakeholders, we have all the potential and experience to meet the confidence reposed by the Government to better serve the nation for economic development and fair trade practices.
Chairman IPO Pakistan