Importance of Intellectual Property Rights in Pakistan – With the launch of the Multibillion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan is all set to become a major hub for trade between China, Central Asia, and Europe soon. The One Belt or One Road project, launched in 2016, includes airports, railways, roads, and the region’s largest deep-sea port, opening a new gateway to growth and prosperity.
Pakistan’s geography is important due to its strategic location bordering China, India, and Afghanistan. Pakistan as a whole has a unique trade position, which makes it favorable to trade in goods and international Local real estate is expected to be in transit.
Therefore, it is important to understand the importance of intellectual property rights in Pakistan, where there are advantages as well as disadvantages, and there is a huge potential for counterfeit goods to travel through international markets.
1. Customs Record
As a precautionary measure against the entry of counterfeit goods into the local and international markets, brand owners may file a written complaint with proof of their IP registration through Pakistan Customs to avail the benefits of investing in real estate.
Holders can use their discretion to record their trademarks and copyrights (provided they are already registered with the Pakistani PTO) with the customs authorities so that the customs authorities can monitor the IPRs throughout Pakistan.
Fines, confiscations, and counterfeit goods will be detained and they will be destroyed and the culprit will be severely punished.
2. Criminal Prosecution
Another way to do this is to conduct a market survey to detect counterfeiting. Brand owners can file criminal complaints through the local police, or the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Proceedings will be initiated immediately through a written complaint filed with proof of ownership of IPRs and the offense under the Copyright Ordinance 1962 (amended in 2000), Trademark Ordinance 2001, and Penal Code of Pakistan.
A strict investigation should be carried out to eradicate forgery, raids should be carried out against forgery and violators should be arrested. Thereafter, the case will be transferred to the Criminal Court for further trial under Pakistan’s Criminal Code.
3. Civil Action
Following the formation of the Intellectual Property Tribunal in Pakistan under the IPO Act 2012, the brand owner has the option to take legal action against the violator before the IP Tribunal under the Trademark Ordinance 2001 (civil suit). Can seek treatment by filing. After obtaining the necessary proof of ownership or use of the trademark in Pakistan, the tribunal may issue a restraining order or temporary order against the defendant from now on, not to use the trademark, and notice May issue IPs to appear before further tribunals for the main trial.
Once the evidence is fully presented, the tribunal may rule on a permanent restraining order, award damages (if claimed by the plaintiff), or other relief in accordance with the law.
IP tribunal benefits
As there are still different approaches to this from a practitioner’s point of view, we warmly welcome the establishment of a special IP tribunal, which offers several benefits:
- Effectiveness of decisions
- Efficiency and accuracy of decision making
- Creation of subject matter experts/expertise
- Ability to create special court procedures to enhance and speed up the trial
- Progressive and dynamic processing
- Consistency and predictability of case outcomes
It is pleasing that the Pakistani government has already taken a number of steps to protect IPR and has strengthened this goal in various effective ways against trademark counterfeiting.
These counterfeit goods can be prevented from entering the local and international markets from Pakistan, especially through customs officials or local law enforcement agencies.
To sum up,
It is highly recommended that the legal owners and their IP lawyers or agents maintain proper cooperation with the Pakistani authorities in order to develop strategies for efficient use of available resources as each case will present its features.