Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) Pakistan Director General Tariq Feroz has said that Pakistan is far behind in the region in protecting intellectual property and held all stakeholders responsible for the situation.
He, however, said joint efforts were being made for the promotion of geographical indications (GI) as well as small and medium enterprises and IPO Pakistan would arrange a comprehensive training programme in collaboration with Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot Chambers of Commerce for the stakeholders.
Apart from these, help desks will also be set up in the chambers for the benefit of people battling for geographical indications.
He was speaking at a workshop on “Protection and Commercialisation of Identified Geographical Indications of Punjab for Development of SMEs” at the Gujranwala Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday.
World Trade Organisation/Director Geographical Indications Project Chief Nasir Rafique told the audience that the key objective of the project was to disseminate information and to get registered geographical indications of Punjab to enable producers and manufacturers of products to get a better price in national and international markets.
Under this project, 11 applications of different products have been filed with IPO Pakistan to get them registered.
IPO Deputy Director Muhammad Ismail revealed that a survey had identified 62 geographical indications in Punjab and asked the workshop participants to inform him about any GI that had been missed.
In Pakistan, according to Ismail, an estimated 3.8 million SMEs are working and their share in the economy is almost 90%. Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot have become small business hubs and the government is eager to work with all stakeholders to promote SMEs so that they can fetch a better price for their products.
Basmati Growers Association President Hamid Malhi spoke about the process of GI registration which could benefit all stakeholders down the stream.
GI is a property that a person acquires by his intellectual ability. Actually, GI is not a trade mark of an individual it is a trade mark of an area.
He cautioned that all relevant people should remain vigilant, preventing any irrelevant person from getting registered a GI.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2013.