TEXT: The Directorate General of IPR Enforcement was established to strengthen IPR controls on borders for safeguarding consumer rights. The challenges of creating a new department with a specialized mandate were huge, but it is heartening to report that our eorts have yielded beneficial results for the consumers and registered right holders. We have protected IP rights of multiple brand holders since 2017. Today we have a significant number of right-holders from US, Europe, and Asia working directly with Pakistan Customs on their trademark related infringement issues.

Business leaders today emphasize the need for protection against unfair and illicit competition. That is where IPR Enforcement comes into play. Our regional teams based at Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are striving hard to meet these demands with more vigour and determination, and protect national trade and investment in Pakistan from the threat posed by the import of counterfeit products. FDI in Pakistan can increase manifold once the investor is assured of the environment within which its capital and entrepreneurial efforts stands protected. The objective underlying this approach is very clear: to provide a conducive environment within which national economy can grow in a sustained manner, with in-built protection against threats such as counterfeiting. The beneficiaries of this approach are not any selective groups, but the whole country.

The Directorate General of IPRE has striven hard to fulfill the vision and mission of World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO); by enforcement of intellectual property rights rules and regulations by making huge seizures of counterfeit products since its establishment in 2017. It was because of these efforts that multiple MNCs and other international stakeholders sent us acknowledgement and appreciation letters.

Besides intercepting counterfeit goods, the Directorate General of IPR Enforcement has also accelerated its training and awareness activities all over Pakistan. Quite recently this office, in collaboration with US Patents and Trademarks Organisation (USPTO) and Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) has successfully designed and rolled out a virtual training program on “Counterfeit Medicines and Medical Devices.” The subject virtual program expands over several weeks and a total of 98 Customs officers have been nominated from all over Pakistan to attend this program.

The onslaught of Covid-19, has disrupted the entire supply chain, and posed new threats, bringing life to a complete halt, destabilizing the biggest economies, thus the need of the hour is damage control. This calls for a totally new approach based on enhanced cooperation and a stronger zest, zeal and passion to revive. We realize that now we need to strengthen IPR enforcement mechanism by joining hands with relevant stakeholders and build a relationship, based on trust and reliance to combat the menace of counterfeiting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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