Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are important for developing countries for several reasons as they provide a way for businesses in these countries to protect their innovations and creations, which can help to offshoot economic growth and development.
According to the World Bank statistics, the IPRs (specially patent application) have shown a rising trend after 2005. Major applications are received from India while Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are ranked below.
Pakistan has adopted various laws and regulations related to IPRs in order to protect and promote innovation and creativity in the country. These include the Trade Marks Ordinance 2001, the Copyright Ordinance 1962, and the Patent Ordinance 2000.
Pakistan is a member of several international organizations related to IPRs, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The country has also signed several international treaties related to IPRs, such as the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Despite these efforts, the enforcement of IPRs in Pakistan has remained weak and ineffective. This has led to a high level of intellectual property rights infringement, particularly in the areas of trademark and copyright infringement.
Some of the reasons for this include lack of awareness among the public and businesses, lack of resources and capacity within the relevant government agencies, weak legal framework, lack of research and development and non-availability of relevant data.
In recent years, the government of Pakistan has taken some steps to improve the enforcement of IPRs, such as increasing the budget for the Intellectual Property Organization of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) and launching an awareness campaign to educate the public and businesses about the importance of IPR. Though, more needs to be done to effectively implement and enforce IPR laws in the country.
Moreover, in Pakistan, the Copyright Ordinance 1962 is the main legislation that governs the protection and enforcement of copyrights. This law provides protection for a wide range of creative works, including literary works, musical works, dramatic works, and artistic works.
In terms of common sectors, the entertainment and media industry in Pakistan, particularly the film and music industry, is a major user of copyright laws. The software industry in Pakistan is also a sector that heavily relies on copyright laws for protection of their software products.
Currently, as technology is becoming more prevalent in Pakistan, the software industry is growing and the copyright laws are being enforced to protect the rights of software developers. Education sector is another sector where copyright laws are being enforced and books, journals, and digital resources are protected under copyright laws.
Adoption of patents in industrial sector of Pakistan should be a priority of our industrialists and policy makers. In Pakistan, the Patent Ordinance 2000 is another main legislation that governs the protection and enforcement of patents and the law provides protection for inventions in various fields, including mechanical, electrical, chemical, and biotechnological inventions.
In terms of industrial sectors, the pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan is a major user of patent laws. The pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan is growing, and many companies rely on patents to protect their drugs.
This allows them to maintain a monopoly on the manufacture and sale of these drugs for a certain period of time. The chemical industry in Pakistan also relies on patents to protect their new products and processes.
Companies in this sector often file patents on new chemical compounds, processes, and equipment to prevent others from copying their products.
The engineering and construction industry in Pakistan also relies on patent laws as companies file patents on new construction materials, equipment, and processes for protection.
The textile industry in Pakistan also relies on patent laws to protect their new/innovative designs, fabrics and production processes.
In general, the adoption of patents laws in Pakistan has been relatively slow and weak enforcement of patent laws is a major issue.
By emphasizing on the enforcement of IPRs, Pakistan can attract foreign investment as companies are more likely to invest in a country that provides strong protections for their intellectual property.
Additionally, IPRs can help promote technology transfer and the spread of new technologies, improve living standards and foster competitiveness.
However, it’s important to note that IPRs can also create barriers to access to knowledge, medicines, and other important goods and services, particularly for the poor and marginalized where the role of policymakers is to ensure availability of essentials for all.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023