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KARACHI: Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) on Wednesday announced the key findings of its latest Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) survey.

The OICCI IPR Survey 2020, which was conducted during September and October, reflects the assessment of the foreign investors on the state of intellectual property protection in Pakistan. Effective protection for the IPR comprising copyrights, patents and trade mark are critical for attracting and retaining the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country. The OICCI IPR survey respondents expressed their concern that IPR protection does not attract due attention from some key stakeholders, including the government, the law enforcement authorities, media and even the consumers.

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 the IPR regulator in Pakistan, the 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.

Commenting on the survey results, OICCI President Haroon Rashid said, “Despite some improvement in the Priority Watch list in USTR Special 301 Report of 2016, Pakistan IPR environment has failed to instill a sense of confidence among the foreign investors and IP owners that the country values IPR protection and will help create an enabling environment for innovation, creativity and all forms of IP so as to attract FDI and retain talented and innovative individuals in the country.

“Foreign investors’ concerns are supported by the loss of revenue ranging from 5 percent to over 20 percent reported by 42 percent of the respondents,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020