Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) today announced the key findings of its latest Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Survey. The OICCI 2019 IPR survey highlighted that IPR protection continues to be of high importance for the business community of Pakistan, whereas there is need for better appreciation of the importance of IPR among other key stakeholders, including the government and the media.
Approximately 50% of the respondents believe that IP rights are not adequately protected in the country. However comparing the IPR environment with other countries in the region, OICCI members perceive that the IPR environment in Pakistan to be ‘better’ or ‘same’ than Bangladesh, India and Philippines and their feedback indicates that it has improved somewhat as compared to the survey conducted in 2017. In terms of estimated revenue losses, 17% of the respondents have indicated losing more than 20% of their annual turnover due to IP violation, compared to 6% in 2017.
OICCI IPR survey highlights the need for a concerted effort by the relevant authorities towards robust enforcement of IPR laws as the foreign investors expect significant improvement in the IPR regime to facilitate FDI in Pakistan. Some of the concerns shared by the survey respondents included, lengthy timelines for granting IP rights as well as judicial proceedings. They also mentioned lack of awareness about IPR amongst some stakeholders, other than brand owners, and too few IP Tribunals for timely resolution of IPR infringement cases. Currently over 90 % 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 with the government for a better IPR regime in Pakistan.
The OICCI 2019 IPR survey results reflect the assessment of the foreign investors, who are members of the chamber, on the state of intellectual property protection in Pakistan. The survey was conducted during August –September 2019, following up on a similar survey conducted in 2017. Protection of IP is one of the key elements in attracting FDI in the country.
Commenting on the survey results, President OICCI, Shazia Syed, expressed concern that, “Despite getting an improved rating in the USTR Special 301 Report, Pakistan seems to be still far behind desirable IPR benchmarks and the authorities need to build confidence of IP owners that the country cares for and will help create, going forward, an enabling environment for innovation, creativity and all forms of IP so as to attract talent and FDI in the country. “OICCI is confident ” Shazia added ” that IPOP, the regulator of IP in Pakistan, will be fast tracking various initiative to deliver on all round improvements in the IPR regime to the satisfaction of the IP owners.”
The nearly 200 OICCI members contribute about a third of the country’s total tax collections, invested nearly US$ 3.0 billion last year in new investments and employ about one million people with a significantly larger contribution to the socio economic development of the community.