A survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Overseas Investors reported that international investors have pursued expanded protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), citing that they are crucial for attracting and sustaining foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region (OICCI).
The OICCI IPR 2020 survey carried out by the Chamber between September and October 2020 represented the views of foreign investors on the status of intellectual property rights in Pakistan.
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In view of the country’s progress on the Priority Watch List in the 2016 US Trade Representative Special 301 Survey, the IPR climate in Pakistan has struggled to gain the confidence of foreign investors and owners of intellectual property, OICCI President Haroon Rashid said in a statement on Wednesday.
We have failed to reassure them that the country values IPR security which will help create an encouraging atmosphere for international investment to encourage innovation, imagination and all types of intellectual property and keep young and creative people in the country,” he said.
As 42 percent of the respondents stated, the fears of foreign investors are backed by the loss of income ranging from 5 percent to over 20 percent, he stressed.
In attracting foreign investment in any region, effective enforcement of intellectual property rights, including copyrights, patents and trademarks, plays a crucial role.
Respondents in the survey shared frustration that some core players, including the government, law enforcement authorities (LEA), the media and even customers, do not draw due attention to IPR security.
According to the statement, some of the main issues outlined in the survey were long-drawn judicial trials, lack of understanding and acceptance of IPR and long time limits for awarding intellectual property rights.
Overall, 40 percent of the respondents said it took one to three years for a typical IPR conflict to be settled.
Respondents also voiced reservations about the penalties for breach of IPR, citing that serving as a deterrent was inadequate and regretted that IP tribunals in Pakistan were not completely functional.
More than 90% of OICCI members currently choose to rely on their own tools to track the danger of IPR violations, he added.
Intellectual property owners, however, shared a willingness to cooperate with the government to strengthen Pakistan’s IPR regime.
Foreign investors who participated in the survey expected Pakistan’s Intellectual Property Organization (IPOP), Pakistan’s IPR regulator, to take the lead in improving the country’s IPR regime and rapidly controlling the IP registration process.
IPOP was also intended to increase awareness of the value of IPRs and its effect on industry and investment, to develop expertise, and to inspire law enforcement agencies to proactively avoid IPR violence.