The US is moving Pakistan from its priority watch list on intellectual property rights to a watch list in a sign of improving copyright laws and their implementation.
In its report 2016 Special 301 Report, the US Trade Representative said that due to Pakistan’s significant efforts to implement key provisions of the Intellectual Property Organisation of Pakistan (IPO-Pakistan) Act of 2012 and the newfound determination with which Islamabad has approached IPR over the past year it was being removed to their priority watch list.
Lack of awareness on intellectual property rights
“Highlights of Pakistan’s recent efforts to address salient IPR challenges include establishing and appointing IP Tribunals at Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore; establishing a timeline for the amendment of major IPR laws; imminent implementation of FBR’s IP enforcement rules; undertaking public awareness programs on IPR protection; and committing to continue regular, action-oriented engagement with the US and stakeholders.”
Pakistan has also been scheduled for an out-of-cycle-review this fall to evaluate whether Islamabad meets the timelines it has announced for IPR reforms, as well as addressing long-standing IPR concerns through legislative reform, enforcement against infringements, efficient and effective results for right holders through the tribunals.
Major step taken to punish copyright violation
Despite implementing a number of reforms, commitments and positive efforts, the report noted that rates of counterfeiting and piracy in Pakistan remain significantly high.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2016.