Foreign investors express concerns over lack of attention on IPR protection

KARACHI: Foreign investors operating in Pakistan have expressed concerns over lack of attention by government authorities on protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

The concerns have been expressed in a survey conducted by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI).

The OICCI announced the key findings of its latest IPR Survey on Wednesday. The OICCI IPR Survey 2020 conducted during September-October, which reflected the assessment of the foreign investors, on the state of intellectual property protection in Pakistan.

Effective protection of IPR comprising of Copyrights, Patents and Trade Mark is critical for attracting and retaining FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the country.

“OICCI IPR Survey 2020 respondents have expressed concern that IPR protection does not attract due attention from some key stakeholders, including the government, Law Enforcement authorities (LEA), media and even the consumers,” according to the study.

Long drawn judicial proceedings, lack of awareness and appreciation about IPR, and lengthy timelines for granting IP rights were some of the key concerns highlighted in the survey.

Overall 40 percent of the respondents indicated that it takes 1 to 3 years to resolve a standard IPR dispute. Respondents also expressed concern regarding the penalty on IPR violation being insufficient to act as a deterrent and the IP Tribunals not being fully functional.

Currently, over 90 percent 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 in partnership with the government authorities for a better IPR regime in Pakistan.

The foreign investors participating in the survey expect that IPR regulator in Pakistan, IPOP, would take the lead in strengthening IPR regime in Pakistan; automate and fast track process of registering IP; massively promote awareness on the importance of IPR and its impact for business/investment; upgrade skills and motivate LEA to proactively arrest the abuse of IPR.

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