Byline: Ghulam Murtiza and Ghous Muhammad
The powerful, unprejudiced and effective IP laws implementation attracts innovation and new investment whereas the weak implementation of intellectual property laws promotes piracy and counterfeiting and consequently acts as a major barrier to investment in RandD, employment, trade and overall growth of a country's economy. This is unfortunately the case with the IP laws implementation in Pakistan. This study points out impediments in the implementation of IP laws in Pakistan. The research concludes by putting forward recommendations and suggestions for the strict implementation of IP laws in Pakistan.
The piracy and counterfeiting have played a great role in shaking the bases of Pakistani society. These evils have helped in spoiling the education, health, food, technology and innovation sectors in Pakistan. The IP criminals consider the piracy and counterfeiting profitable as well as easier task and feel immense pleasure in committing these offences. The ethics and moral values have been vanished. The wealth greed has hollowed our moral values. The government and intellectual property right holders have to bear the loss of billions of rupees due to offences of piracy and counterfeiting. Intellectual property and socio-economic growth go side by side and for IPRs preservation, laws are drafted. But just making laws is not sufficient. Just by making laws, the government cannot fulfill its responsibility. The responsibility can be performed in its true spirit only when these laws are properly implemented.
The social and economic growth comes only in part of that society that has capacity to implement these laws. The social and economic growth of the developed countries is only because of their making of IP laws implementation mechanism more effective and suitable.
In existence of powerful legal as well as institutional framework in Pakistan, the implementation capacity is very poor and hence social-economic growth is at lower level. The impediments that have helped in hindering the IP laws implementation in Pakistan are discussed here. By overwhelming these obstacles, the implementation of intellectual property laws in Pakistan can be made more effective and productive.
One of the main obstacles in way of implementing intellectual property laws in Pakistan is lack of awareness regarding IP rights as well as laws. The majority of Pakistani people is not aware of the word intellectual Property. They do not know the meaning as well as the concept of intellectual property. According to section 13 of IPO Pakistan Act, it is the responsibility of this organization to develop awareness with regard to IP problems via electronic and print means in the private and public domain and under section 14, it is the responsibility of the organization to develop IP via advocacy which will involve developing awareness. But unfortunately IPO-Pakistan is not fulfilling this responsibility. Saleem Ullah (2017) observes that on Wednesday, 26th of April World IP day was celebrated. Since 2000, this day is celebrated to acknowledge the role of IP in encouraging innovation, creativity; raising awareness of how copyrights, designs, trademarks and patents impacts on our daily life.
This day like other days passed by people unnoticed, except a few who have had relevance considered it important. Mufti (2016) expresses that in many areas, Pakistan is far behind-awareness on IPRs is one of them. Lack of awareness is a key issue that causes large scale theft. "Lack of awareness" (2006) reported that because of piracy, poor enforcement of copyrights laws and lack of awareness about how to preserve their IPRs in Pakistan, many musicians, singers, writers, film and TV play producers and poets have suffered. Maker (2014) states that all over the world, IPRs day is celebrated with enthusiasm but in Pakistan, it goes mostly unnoticed.
The outlines of IPO Pakistan Act themselves are major impediment in implementation of intellectual property laws in Pakistan because they have not been fully implemented according to their spirit by the government of Pakistan. Section 18 read with section 2(h) and the schedule of IPO Pakistan Act 2012 states that any offence under the following IP laws will exclusively be tried by the tribunals:
The Trade Marks Ordinance, 2001
The Copyright Ordinance, 1962