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Enforcement of IPRs in Pakistan


Enforcement of IPRs
The cause could lie in the fact that the enforcement of IP has recently received much attention, which led to the 2017 notification to amend the Custom Rules. There are other domains like GI where the law is still under development.
The most common instances are those that are counted as luxury brand items. Also, as per the US Special 301 Report, books and CDs are accredited as constituting of one of the most pirated copies in comparison to other goods.
The provisions of enforcement are dealt within the respective IP Acts, which include:-
  • The Trademark Ordinance, 2001 and Rules, 2004, the Penal Code, 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1886, and the Drugs Act, 1976 (in relation todrugs/pharmaceuticals only).
  • The Patent Ordinance, 2000 and Rules, 2003
  • The Layout-Design Ordinance, 2000
  • The Copyright Ordinance, 1962 and Rules,1967
Apart from these, the Chapter XXVIII of the Customs Rules, 2001 deals with enforcement of IP.
The following types of IPRs are protected by the enforcement measures:
  • Trademarks
  • Copyright
  • Layout-Designs
  • Patents
One has to establish the existence of his or her mark since the burden of proof lies on the enforcer. The certificate of registration is the most substantial proof; other unregistered marks can also give supportive evidences in favour of the owner’s mark.
Devising a strategy in concurrence with the IP lawyer and Pakistani authority may serve good.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - No
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
Litigation cost, in addition to monetary compensation, account for profits (Anton Pillar Orders in accordance with Section 75, read with Order 39 Rule 7).
There is no fixed time frame for an infringement or dilution or related actions for cases being dealt at the trial court level, which as much depends on the individual case. A preliminary injunction takes approximately 02 to 06 months, whereas the finality of the lawsuit is attained within 02 to 03 years. The time frame for an appeal against an order against the preliminary or permanent injunction is not fixed, but may take around the same 02 to 03-year period.
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in civil litigation, a contempt of court proceeding may be initiated.
Given the flexible period of litigation, lengthy trials may lead to irredeemable injustice due to loss of time, money, and effort.
A) Responsible Authority - District/High Court/IP Tribunal
B) Imprisonment Term – Maximum 03 years in case of copyright and trademark infringement, 02 years in matter of patent infringement, 02 years for infringement of layout-design
C) Monetary Fine – Maximum Pak Rupee 100,000/- in case of copyright and trademark, 50,000 in case of patent infringement, and 20,000 for infringement of layout-design
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in criminal prosecution, a contempt of court proceeding may be initiated
The punishment is not harsh enough.
An IP Tribunal has been set up in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore, which entertain all suits regarding IP.
The following are the available remedies:-
  • Fine
  • Confiscation of goods
  • Payment of duty in respect of goods so lost or deficient shall be payable by the person-in-charge of the conveyance
  • Imprisonment
The rights holder whose rights have been infringed upon must bear the costs of customs intervention during enforcement.
Civil and criminal proceedings are better since the ADR route is not well-practiced yet in Pakistan.
There is a lot of uncertainty due to lack of awareness and no harsh punishments. The officials at the lower level do not account it as an important issue to be addressed.