Lead 04-19Paras Ali

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is not being able to improve the environment to protect the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) though the country is signatory to a number of protocols and conventions with a commitments to implement effective policies for the protection of IPRs.

“Presently, Pakistan which is showing substantial deterioration on the indicators to improve the IPRs, now stands at 106th position among 144 countries on IPR protection, as compared to 86 in 2010. The trend shows 20 per cent decline in IP protection in the country,” announced Mishal Pakistan while recently sharing the data on IPR from the Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Mishal Pakistan is a country partner institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the WEF. It said that the country is not being able to improve the environment to protect the IPRs.

On the other hand, it further said, an enabling framework required to create an intellectual asset in the system continues to perform poorly. The capacity of research institutions and private sector spending on scientific research and development has been stagnant for the past three years. This is causing the country to lose its competitiveness by not being able to create an implementation mechanism for the citizens to protect their intellectual property, it maintained.

Experts say that the university-industry collaboration is also a matter of concern in Pakistan as more emphasis is being put on non-research initiatives or research in isolation from the industry. This also indicates that the businesses in Pakistan are not benefiting from the RandD being done in academic and research institutions across the country, resulting in lack of indigenous solutions for the local and international challenges.

Although Pakistan has shown improvements on a number of applications filed under the Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT) per million populations, where Pakistan stands at 88 among 144 countries globally, a 30 per cent improvement as compared to 2010.

The recent developments and initiatives by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan to encourage academia and research institutions to file for patents has resulted in more applications filed for patents in the country, however, the lack of expertise and understanding about new ideas and innovations at the IPO has hampered IPR activities in the country.

Pakistan had re-adopted the Intellectual Property Rights Act in December last year, which protects the IPRs including copyrights, trademarks, patents, designs, lay-out designs of integrated circuits, trade secrets and other intellectual property laws; supported by other laws are powerful tools for economic growth.

Experts are of the strong view that the protection of these and similar IPRs of citizens is essential to foster a creative thinking, stimulate creativity, provide incentives for technological innovations, and attract investments.

“Our challenge is to ensure that the conditions for access are fair and balanced, so that the benefits are widespread, and so that it fosters a truly dynamic, creative global society in which the next generation will thrive,” said Adnan Shahid, Chief Operating officer at Branding Bees.

According to Haroon Rashid, the Pakistanis leading pop singer, composer, musician and producer, the negative impacts of piracy on music industry are huge and have virtually damaged this sector.

He said that the issue would be tackled on a priority basis and members of enforcement agencies should act according to the law to apprehend the culprits involved in the matter. He also described due to non-intellectual property organization Pakistan music industry is dying.

The IPRs protection is important for recognising and respecting creative and intellectual work in a knowledge-based society and the major responsibility lies with the government to ensure fair implementation of relevant laws.

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