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‘Piracy blocks foreign investment’

The News - International, Pakistan

‘Piracy blocks foreign investment’

By our correspondent

27 February 2007

KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry Majyd Aziz has called for creating awareness of intellectual property rights and effective enforcement of IPR legislation in order to attract investment in the country.

He was speaking in the first meeting of the Special Committee on Intellectual Property Rights of the KCCI.

“Creating awareness of intellectual property rights and effective enforcement of IPR legislation are economic imperatives to attract warranted level of investment and technology transfer in the manufacturing and services sectors,” he said.

He added that enforcement of IPRs “has assumed greater urgency, as it is a major area of concern in signing the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and then the Free Trade Agreement with the US.”

He said that initiatives like establishment of IPO-Pakistan, empowerment of FIA and Customs to eliminate piracy of DVDs/CDs, prime minister’s personal interest in the issue, etc had improved Pakistan’s image, and “now the nation is removed from the Priority Watch List.”

Deputy Registrar of Copyrights Imtiaz Ali, on the occasion, said that IPR legislation in Pakistan followed WTO Agreement on TRIPs and civil and criminal remedies available against IPR infringements were the strictest in the world.

However, he said, enforcement of IPRs was a weak area, especially because all the three areas - copyrights, trade marks and patents - were managed by separate ministries.

He pointed out that foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector of Pakistan was much below potential due to general perception of IP piracy. However, he noted that the establishment of IPO-Pakistan for integrated management and enforcement of IP as well as empowerment of FIA and Customs had markedly improved the situation.

Speaking about rampant piracy of DVDs, Imtiaz Ali said that it mainly pertained to Indian motion pictures. He lamented that no officially copyright CD was available in Karachi, adding Microsoft licensing was urgently needed.

He informed the meeting that 40 factories in Malaysia were supplying CDs the world over including North America while there were only eight CD factories in Pakistan.

Assistant Director IPO-Pakistan Syed Nasrullah said “IP is a powerful tool for enterprise development and wealth creation.”

He said that the ratio of physical and intellectual property of business concerns in the developed countries, which was 80:20 in the 70s, had dramatically reversed to 20:80, underscoring the urgency of IPR protection.

Citing an example, he said that a company needed investment of $500 million to $1 billion in developing a medicine, so it would necessarily like protection of its intellectual assets.