Intellectual Property Rights
Copyright law in Pakistan was governed by the Copyright Ordinance 1962. Significant changes were made in it through the Copyright (Amendment) Act, 1992 and the Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2000 whereby Copyright protection originally available to literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, cinematographic and architectural works, books, photographs, newspapers, engravings, lectures, and sculptures was extended to include computer software, periodicals, video films and all forms of audio-visual works.
Pakistan's active commitment to the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Pakistan became a signatory to TRIPS in 1995; as a result, the scope of foreign investment through the field of Intellectual Property Rights has increased considerably. The government has embarked on the task of rewriting legislation in the areas of copyrights, patents, and trade marks.
Pakistan is a member of both the Universal Copyright and Bern Conventions. In July 2004, Pakistan acceded to the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property. In 2000 and 2001, Pakistan enacted five ordinances to meet its copyright, industrial designs, integrated circuits, patents and trademark obligations under the WTO agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property (TRIPS).
In 2004, the Federal Cabinet approved legislation creating the Pakistan Intellectual Property Rights Organization (PIPRO) to consolidate authority over trademarks, patents, and copyrights in one government body.
PIPRO's establishment was announced in the 2002-2003 Trade Policy to proactively curb the piracy of various goods in Pakistan. It was aimed at reinforcing the government's strong commitment to provide information and protection regarding all Intellectual Property Rights, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents under one organization, which are currently being provided for by three different ministries. PIPRO will be placed under the overall administrative responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce.
In general a UK citizen cannot apply for a patent or trade mark in Pakistan unless they have already made an application for the same in the UK. Advice on matters relating to patents, designs or trade marks can be obtained from agents specialising in these fields.
Patents are granted for up to 20 years from the date of application. Legal remedies including injunctions are available in the case of patent infringement. Unfortunately, the 2002 Patent Ordinance weakened the 2000 Patent Law by eliminating use patents, restricting patent filings to single chemical entities, limiting protection for derivatives, introducing barriers to patenting biotechnology-based inventions and establishing a mechanism for compulsory licensing.
Trademarks are registered under the 2001 Trade Marks Ordinance through the Trademark Registry, a department in the Ministry of Commerce. Trademarks are registered for a 10-year period from the date of registration and may be renewed for a further 10 years. Early in 2004, the GoP issued long-awaited trademark regulations, which have assumed the force of law.
The Industrial Designs Law provides for the registration of designs for a period of 10 years, with the possibility of extending the registration for two additional 10-year periods. The Law for Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits provides for protection of layout designs for 10 years starting from its first commercial exploitation anywhere in the world. Penalties and legal remedies are also available in case of infringement on industrial designs, layout designs and trademarks. Implementing rules to enforce these ordinances remain incomplete.
The copyright law protects literary works, including works on humanity, religion, social and physical sciences, tables, compilation of data, computer programs and artistic work, including phonograms, and contains penalties for copyright infringement. These rights extend for 50 years from the year of creation or performance. Provisions of the copyright law which permit the government to grant a license to reprint, translate, adapt or publish any text or book on a non- profit basis in the public interest is TRIPS-inconsistent.
For further information, please see:
The Pakistan Software Export Board Website
UK Trade & Investment Country Profile
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Last Updated: December 2008