Chairman Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) Pakistan Farrukh Amil, while expressing his resolve to simplify Intellectual Property (IP) procedures which was a constantly evolving and technology driven activity, said that under its long-term strategy, IPO Pakistan wants to simplify the cumbersome IP procedures through digitalization which would enable individuals and companies to get their products, services and other exclusive material registered even through their smart phones as being done in developed countries around the world.
“IP is a neglected subject in Pakistan as people here are largely unaware of the significance of trademarks, copyrights and patents. Hence, we need to introduce IP related curriculum at our schools as done in many countries. Currently, only those Pakistani students at university level learn about Intellectual Property who chose to go for any specialized course or degree while the legal fraternity is also aware of its importance but the general public remains totally unaware which needs special attention”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Chairman Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala, President KCCI Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, Vice President Mohammad Haris Agar, Chairman WTO, IPR, FTA & Regional Trade Shamim Ahmed Jumlana and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
While seeking KCCI’s suggestions for improving IPO’s services and assuring full support and cooperation to the business community of Karachi, Chairman IPO said that strict enforcement of IPR laws along with stringent punishments and heavier fines were a very critical for protecting the interest of producers and save the public from counterfeit products. “It is a very serious issue as even fake medicines and food stuff were widely being produced which put the lives of poor public at stake.”, he said, adding that heavier fines and dire consequences for breaking the law would certainly be a huge deterrent for counterfeiting.
“Administrative and political will has to be exhibited otherwise all the best strategies and all of the best legislations won’t attract foreign investors who get discouraged as our country is not part of relevant IP related international treaties”, said Farrukh Amil, “Investors’ confidence would only increase if we have strict enforcement.”
He also advised the manufacturers to look into the aspect of bringing down prices of their finished goods as it was also one of the reasons which encourages sale of lookalike fake products being sold in the local markets at cheaper rates.
Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, in his remarks, stated that Intellectual Property Rights was the norm of business today and without IP rights, the country cannot move forward. “It is really unfortunate that the actual producer of a product suffers badly due to cumbersome procedures and extraordinary delays in registering products whereas the counterfeiter of same product gets it registered instantly from IPO by giving kickbacks which is a very serious issue being suffered by many businessmen.”
He stressed that all the operations at IPO have to be made fully digitalized and completely automated to deal with corruption and bureaucratic hurdles. “Instead of enhancing the number of staff at IPO, a flawless and reliable software for Intellectual Property must be introduced which, in addition to improving IPO performance, would surely expedite the entire process and all the product registration work can easily be completed within a month by half of IPO’s existing staff.”
Earlier, President KCCI Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, while warmly welcoming Chairman IPO, stated that due to global integration, competitive environment and technological advancements, the role of Intellectual Property Organization was very critical for the country’s economic development but there was a need to ensure strict enforcement of IPR Laws at the grass root level. “To harness the national resources and multiply national wealth, a vibrant and solid foundation for a strong IP system should be in place.”
He was of the view that effective enforcement of IP system would not only improves the country’s national image but also connect domestic economy with a global system which would surely translate into an improvement in foreign investment.
He noted that the Patent Office of Pakistan does not have any online database at present which needs to be developed for transparency and effectiveness while the existing organizational and administrative set-up of IP Registries requires extensive reforms, automation and restructuring to accomplish ease of doing business and improving efficiency.
“We believe, there is a need to raise awareness amongst traders, domestic investors, SMEs/manufacturers about the importance of various components of intellectual property system such as Patents, trademarks, Copyrights, Geographical Indications, Trade Secrets, industrial design etc.”, he added.
Chairman Businessmen Group Zubair Motiwala and President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mohammed Tariq Yousuf presenting crest to Chairman Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) Pakistan Farrukh Amil during his visit to KCCI. Vice President Mohammad Haris Agar, Chairman WTO, IPR, FTA & Regional Trade Shamim Ahmed Jumlana and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.