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Importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Pakistan

Importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Pakistan

With the commencement of multi-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan in near future is going to become an important epicenter of trade between China, Central Asia and Europe. The One Belt / One Road project, which started back in the year 2016, includes airports, railways, roads and the largest deep-sea port in the region opening a new gateway of progress and prosperity.

Geography of Pakistan is significant due to strategic location bordering China, India and Afghanistan, Pakistan has a unique commercial position altogether, making it favorable for high volume of trade in goods and Real Estate, both internationally and locally, is expected to be in transit. So, it is very important to understand the Importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Pakistan, Where there are pros, there is also much cons as well, and numerous chances for counterfeit goods to travel down the road on their way to the international markets.

1. Customs Record

As preventive measure for the counterfeit goods from entering the local and international markets, brand owners may enforce their rights through the Pakistan customs by filing a written complaint along with proof of their IP registrations to gain the real estate investment benefits. The holders can exercise their option to record their trademarks and copyrights (provided they are already registered with the Pakistani PTO) with the customs authorities so that the customs officials can have an eye on the IPRs throughout Pakistan.

Remedial Recommendation:

Fines, seizures and destruction of Counterfeit goods be seized and destructed and the offender is heavily penalized.  

2.Criminal Prosecution

Another way of doing it is to follow market surveys for the detection of counterfeits, brand owners may file criminal complaints through the local police, or The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Action will be initiated forthwith by a written complaint filed with a proof of ownership of the IPRs and the offense is persecuted under the Copyright Ordinance 1962 (amended in 2000), the Trademark Ordinance 2001 and the Penal Laws of Pakistan.

Remedial Recommendation:

By carrying out strict investigations, destruction of fakes, anti-counterfeit raids, and the arrest of the infringer. The case, then, will be transferred to the Criminal Court for further trial under the Criminal Procedure Code of Pakistan.

3.Civil Action

The brand owner has the option at his disposal, after the formation of the Intellectual Property Tribunal in Pakistan under the IPO Act 2012, may seek a remedy by filing a lawsuit (civil suit) against the infringer before the IP Tribunal under the Trademark Ordinance 2001 of Pakistan.

Having obtained necessary proof of ownership and / or use of the trademark in Pakistan, the Tribunal may issue a restraining order / temporary injunction against the defendant(s) not to use the trademark henceforth, and issue notice IPs to further appear before the Tribunal for the main trial.

Remedial Recommendations:

Once the evidence is presented fully, the Tribunal may pass judgment with a permanent injunction, award damages (if claimed by the plaintiff) or any other relief as per law.

As there are various ways to go about it yet from a practitioner's point of view, we very much welcome the establishment of a specialized IP Tribunal, which presents numerous advantages:

  • Effectiveness of decisions;
  • Efficiency and accuracy of decision making;
  • Creation of subject matter experts/expertise;
  • Ability to create special court procedures to enhance and speed up the trial;
  • Progressive and dynamic processing
  • Consistency and predictability of case outcomes;

It is quite satisfying that the Pakistani government has already taken multiple initiatives to protect IPRs and has fortified this aim with various efficacious ways of contending the counterfeiting of trademarks. These counterfeit items can be denied of entrance into the local and international markets from Pakistan especially through the customs authorities or the local law enforcement agencies.

To sum it up, it is highly recommended that right owners and their IP lawyers or agents maintain proper cooperation with the Pakistani authorities to develop a strategy for efficiently utilizing the available means since each case will present its peculiarities.

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