APRIL 26 is commemorated annually as World Intellectual Property (IP) Day to create awareness of IP rights, which includes trademarks, patents, copyrights and designs. The protection of these rights is essential to promoting innovation and creativity, which in turn creates development and progress in every sphere, particularly business and commerce. This year’s theme is “innovation – improving lives”. But does Pakistan have such a conducive environment?
Sadly, the answer is no. Despite the pomp of our IPO office in Islamabad, a copyright board is yet to be established, and cases of contested copyrights have been pending for decades, and the consolidation of IP offices under one roof has resulted in the misplacement of thousands of files.
We can continue to mark this day with seminars and awareness raising events, but action is required. There is a shortage of qualified and experienced staff, processes are inefficient and not streamlined, and there are delaysin the resolution of cases. This must be holistically addressed by taking into confidence all stakeholders, including IP law practitioners.
The posts of controller, examiners, deputy and assistant registrars are still vacant, with only half of the skilled personnel appointed so far. The copyright board must be immediately established, and the IP tribunal must be made functional.