For Pakistan to promote investment, it is “critically” important for the country to constitute legislation on intellectual property rights (IPR), said Bernice Donald, a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
While speaking to a selected group of journalists on Friday, Donald said that Pakistan should enforce activism by police, prosecutors and judges to take action against criminals involved in smuggling for successful enforcement of IPR regime.
Investors do not want to invest in those countries where the IPR legislation is weak, she said. Courts of law will play a critical figure in IPR enforcement, which is essential in order to attract investment.
“If you get the framework of IPR regime, the gaps (in the law) can be amended,” she said while elaborating on trademark and copyright laws.
“We are not here (in Pakistan) to protect multinational companies, but are here to share our own experiences under America’s IPR regime,” Donald went on to say, adding that the US wants awareness of IPR fundamental and there must be a consistent and transparent law for judges to enforce them.
Strengthening the IPR legislation will bring in investment, which in turn will create job opportunities for locals and boost the economy of the country. “People will be chilled in exercising engineering after enforcement of IPR laws,” she added.
Jennifer Ness, attorney adviser in the Office of Policy and External Affairs at the US Patent and Trademark Office, said that the US wanted to help Pakistan in implementing the IPR regime.
Giving the example of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, Ness said, “All this can happen in Pakistan too.” Earlier, Singapore was a heaven for piracy but after rebuilding and reconstructing the laws, the country managed to become a leader in technological advancements.
She said that there should be property rights tribunals to handle the cases just like the tribunals operating in different countries, and the judges should be well-trained in IPR laws.
“We (the US) can train policymakers, police officers, custom officers and judges and provide assistance to Pakistan in this regard.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2013.