PR No. 179 Islamabad

Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has directed the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO) to develop the National IP Strategy and fast track the pending amendments in legislations in the field of trade-marks, patents, copy rights and industrial design. The Minister made these remarks while receiving presentation from Chairman of IPO after the organization was placed under the administrative control of Ministry of Commerce on 25th July. The proposal of placing IPO under MoC was put forward in the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2015-18) which was approved by the Prime Minister in March this year.

Commenting on the recent administrative change to place IPO with MoC the Minister said that this will support innovation and creation of marketable and exportable IP products, export promotion, economic development, foreign direct investment (FDI) and prosperity of genuine businesses in the country.

The Minister was informed that the new web portal of the IPO will be launched in August. The web-portal will enable the organization will offer online services to the public for improved service delivery by providing e-filing of all types of IP applications, E-payments, online Search in IP gazettes/journals, online application status search and online IP infringement complaints etc. All the historical record of the IPO is digitized and over six million pages of IP applications are available in digital form.

Mr. Dastgir directed the management of IPO to pay due diligence before acceding to the international treaties relating to IP such as Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)-International System for Registration of Patents, Madrid Protocol-International System for Registration of Trademarks and internet treaties like World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty (WCT) and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

Director General IPO, Mr. Shahid Lateef informed the Minister that due to effective IPR coordination with enforcement agencies and practical measures taken by IPO, the United States has removed Pakistan from Priority Watch List in the year 2016 while India and China are still on that list. This is a great achievement on the transparency of intellectual property rights laws and indicates the trust the US authorities repose in the recent legislative and administrative measures taken by the Government of Pakistan in this field, he added.

The Report mentions;

“Highlights of Pakistan’s recent efforts to address salient IPR challenges include establishing and appointing IP Tribunals at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore; establishing a timeline for the amendment of major IPR laws; imminent implementation of the Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) IP Enforcement Rules; undertaking public awareness programs on IPR protection; and committing to continue regular, action-oriented engagement with the United States and stakeholders….” United States Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Report 2016

The Minister also directed the IPO to keep a close liaison with the WIPO to seek latest information on the IPR negotiations and enhance the capacity building of the officers of IPO Pakistan.

He said that there is dire need to work hard for promotion of soft image of Pakistan worldwide by protecting IPRs. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors to provide such an environment in the country which should be helpful for creativity and stringent for piracy and counterfeiting, he said.