GI Protection Bill ready to be tabled in parliament
KARACHI: The draft of the bill for protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) of goods and products popular among masses for their peculiar geographical origins in Pakistan has been prepared and submitted to the government, a government official said on Wednesday.
“The draft of Geographical Indication Protection Bill has been prepared and submitted to the ministry concerned, the bill will be introduced in the parliament either in the current month or next one,” Shahid Rashid, chairman of the Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) of Pakistan said.
Rashid said the proposed Geographical Indication Protection law will protect the IPR of popular Pakistani products, such as Basmati rice, Wazirabad cutlery, or Sialkot sports goods.
“It had been pending at different stages of preparation as draft legislation, but finally the bill is readied by the IPO after due consultation,” Rashid said at the launching ceremony of Intellectual Property Association of Pakistan (IPAP).
He said that IPO was also in the process of integrating and housing three of its main subsidiary offices -trademark office, copyrights’ office, and patent office – in a single building under one roof for facilitating people applying for protection of IPR of their products.
“It had always been a challenging task for IPO to raise public awareness and also to enforce IPR in the entire country with strength of just 190-odd officials.”
He said that IPO, despite shortage of officials as compared to officers available to similar organisations like Customs and FIA, had organised 62 events across the country in the last one year for raising awareness among members of different trade associations and academia.
The IPO head said his organisation had been trying to clear backlogged applications, as the last year witnessed 31 percent increase in applications, and 25 percent increase in trademark registration.
He said that applications for patent registration had declined in the country and the assistance of World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) had been sought for reversing this trend.
For this cause, technology innovation support centres will be established in different universities with support of WIPO for giving access to global database of patents and other useful information to budding scientists at campuses.
Farhan Hanif, chairman of IPAP, said the newly formed association would act as a facilitator and a bridge among the government, IPO, public, and private sectors to develop robust systems and stop infringement of IPR.
He said the Intellectual Property Association of Pakistan would conduct a countrywide survey for developing the first national database and directory for proper record keeping of genuine IP owners and their registered patents in Pakistan.
“In future, Intellectual Property Association of Pakistan had plans to launch an intellectual property intelligence network, academy, and business school, for pre-empting violation of copyrights and trademark registration laws and for promoting higher education for IPR protection,” he added.